Nummits and Crummits.
Nummits and Crummits
Characteristics, and Folk-lore
Author of " The Peasant Speech of Devon ; " " Devonshire Stories ; "
" Fairies ; " " Superstitions."
With Frontispiece by George Martin.
BARNICOTT AND PEARCE
by kind permission
to the Right Honourable
THIS little book is made up of a few crumbs from the
repositories of many Devonshire friends, to whom
grateful thanks are tendered for their untiring help-
fulness in supplying so much that is quaint and in-
The miscellaneous scraps here gathered shew but
inadequately the humorous characteristics of our
Devonshire folk, their dialect, and as some like to call
it, "jargon," as drawn by themselves. They illustrate
what the people actually believe in, say, and do, and
shew the general trend of their minds. Their belief
in the supernatural is unbounded. Neither age,
social position, nor culture makes much difference :
one and all are more or less wedded to the super-
stitions, beliefs, and traditions of their ancestors.
Apologies are offered to any one whose " Crummits "
have been appropriated without permission or ac-
It was impossible to say from whom they arrived,
as hundreds of newspaper and other cuttings came to
hand anonymously, and being very precious morsels
were reproduced. To each and all contributors most
grateful thanks are given.
3, BLUNDELL'S CRESCENT,
FRONTISPIECE . ; . .
PREFACE . . . . . . v
I. SUPERSTITIONS . . . . ' i
II. THINGS LUCKY AND UNLUCKY '. . 47
III. CHARMS . . . . . . 61
IV. CUSTOMS . . . .. . .' 85
V. WEATHER LORE AND WISE SAWS * 103
VI. NUMMITS AND CRUMMITS . . . 123
VII. PECULIAR AND ECCENTRIC DEVONIANS . 135
VIII. STORIES .... , 165
IX. OLD SONGS . ^ . ' . . , . 185
I tell thee,
There's not a pulse beats in the human frame
That is not governed by the stars above us.
The blood that fills our veins, in all its ebb
And flow, is swayed by them as certainly
As are the restless tides of the salt sea
By the resplendent moon ; and at thy birth
Thy mother's eye gazed not more steadfastly
On thee, than did the star that rules thy fate,
Showering upon thy head an influence
Malignant or benign.
ALL HALLOWE'EN SUPERSTITIONS.
I THINK I cannot do better than describe what actually
took place at an old farm house, in the eighties, in
1 was invited to spend a few days with a family,
consisting of a farmer, his wife, and seven grown-up
sons and daughters. The farm was picturesquely
situated on a south-western slope of the Haldon Hills,
from whence extensive views of land and sea could
Mary was the youngest and merriest of the family.
She it was who acted as prime mover in all the fun,
not that either of the others showed any reluctance to
carry out her wildest suggestions. A brighter set of
young folk it would be difficult to find, and it has sel-
dom been my good fortune to meet their equals in
high spirits and natural gentleness. Every one was
thoroughly imbued with credulity in regard to omens
4 jummit# anti Crummto.
Mary suggested that All Hallowe'en should be ob-
served with due ceremony, as indeed it was. The
amusements began with fortune-telling by cards, at
which Maggie the eldest daughter was an adept.
The fortunes were appraised as "not up to much,"
and as no one crossed Maggie's hand with a piece of
silver, the cards were swept aside.
Then Jack, otherwise the family clown, brought in
dishes of apples and nuts, bags of hemp seed, torn
paper, large basins of water, scraps of lead, a melting
ladle, large combs, small hand mirrors, and a printed
sheet of capital letters, all of which were to be used
Just as the clock began to strike eleven, a move
was made towards the fireplace, where from the bars
of the grate Jack had already swept every vestige of
Simultaneously each girl laid a big hazel nut on
the lowest bar of the grate, and sat silently watching
the result. I noticed that perfect silence was religi-
ously observed during each ceremony.
She, whose nut first blazed, would be the first to
She, whose nut first cracked, would be jilted.
She, whose nut first jumped, would very soon start
on a journey, but would never marry.
She, whose nut smouldered, would have sickness,
disappointment in love, and perhaps die young.
After this, one of the girls took an apple, a comb,
and a mirror, and retired to the brightest corner of
the room, where she began to comb out her long
tresses with her left hand and held an apple in the
right, which she slowly ate. Her future husband
was expected to look over her shoulder, revealing his
face to her in the mirror. He did not, however,
satisfy our curiosity by putting in an appearance.
Then one took a handful of torn paper and scattered
it on the surface of a big basin of water, and after
stirring vigorously, awaited developments. The
number of pieces of paper which fell to the bottom
indicated the number of years which would intervene
before the operator's marriage. In this case twenty-
one fell, and as Jenny was now twenty-eight, Jack
thought there was small chance for her to have an
establishment of her own at forty-nine, so she had
better resign herself to her fate, and be content to be-
come the unappropriated blessing of the family, for,
said he, " How could you, Jenny, at that advanced
age, dare to don white satin and orange blossoms ?
No, my dear, your future is sealed."
Then everybody insisted on Jack trying his luck,
which he essayed to do by melting a few scraps of
lead in the ladle and pouring it red hot into one of the
basins of cold water. The letters formed, or the
nearest approach to letters, at the bottom of the basin
were supposed to be the initials of the future " She."
The closest resemblance to letters which we could
discover was an I, and an L. The question which
6 jummit0 anfc Crummta.
now arose amid merry peals of laughter was to whom
the initials I.L. could belong. Many names were
mentioned and negatived as soon as suggested, Jack
looking rather bashful, when from Jenny came the
query " Does not I stand for Ida, and L for Lang ?
Ida Lang is a very pretty name, and is owned by a
very sweet girl."
Jack gave Jenny a look which could easily be in-
terpreted " I owe you one for that, Jenny " " Oh ! oh !
Jack," replied Jenny, " we are hoping that Ida Lang
will not be an unappropriated blessing. She shall
have my white satin and all the orange blossoms."
There was a good deal more of this sort of chaff, but
no offence was taken by the good-natured Jack, and
things swung along amicably.
Next came Tom to try his hap with a pair of
scissors. Tom in silence separated the capital letters,
each falling into the basin of water without being
touched by the hand. When all were free they were
stirred and left to settle. The initials of the future
one, were supposed to float on the water. Alas ! poor
Tom ! in his case fifteen letters presented themselves.
Here again was food for fun and conjecture. Many
suggestions were made. Tom, perhaps was going to
be a Mormon, or perhaps he was going abroad and
set up a harem, and all sorts of other absurd theories.
Mary at last came to the rescue, " Oh, I know," said
she, " take G and M out and there you have
Gertrude Morley, then tack all the rest on to the end
of the name, and there you have certain degrees won
by Gertrude at the 'Varsity. Gertrude is a Newnham
student. Last autumn in the long vacation there was
a young woman of that strain dodging across the
hills, and on one occasion when she saw our Tom
cantering towards her, her bike became fractious
instanter, and poor innocent Tom had to dismount,
tie Highflyer to a gate-post and assist the distressed
biker. Of course, Tom couldn't help himself and
had to lead Highflyer up the hill and push the bike
too." Alas poor Tom ! Then turning to her mother
she explained that Tom was about to present her with
a new daughter in the form of a Newnham girl so
vastly clever, that she used up all the alphabet
to shew how clever she was and the heaps of degrees
she took, &c., &c. " I say, Tom, do you think
Gertrude Morley, B.A., M.D., M.G.L.Q.R., will
like taking my place in the house work, and be able
to cry chuggie, chuggie, chuggie, every morning to
the dear little piggy-wiggies ; perhaps though, instead
of giving them barley-meal and milk, she'll sit them
all in a row, in the bottom of the trough, and teach
'em Latin and Greek don't-cher-know ; eh, Tom
dear ? "
Heedless of this affectionate raillery, everything
drifted along smoothly, and four dishes of water were
brought in and placed severally in three corners of
the room, and the fourth, emptied of its contents, was
placed in the fourth corner. Then four blind-folded
8 jpummtttf anfc Crummto,
operators were led into the room and placed back to
back in its centre, the lights having been previously
extinguished. Then all four fell on their knees and
each crept at discretion to any, or all to the same,
The empty dish portended celibacy or poverty.
The dish of clean water, that the future one would
never before have married. The dish of dirty water,
that the future spouse would be a widow or widower.
The dish of water with pebbles at the bottom, riches
Now the crucial movement was at hand. Each
girl took possession of a big handful of hempseed.
The front door was thrown wide open and securely
fastened back to prevent the possibility of its being
accidentally closed ; the girls stood without. As the
clock gave the first stroke of twelve off they started
each in a different direction across the lawn, shouting :
Hempseed I sow,
Hempseed I throw,
He that's my true-love,
Come after me and mow !
The spirits of the future ones were expected to be
beyond the shrubs ready to rush after the sowers, and
unhappy would have been the maiden, who could
not get over the threshold before the scythe of the
reaper caught her. All the girls reached the hall un-
harmed : little Mary, looking a bit scared, said, as she
wound her arms around me : " Oh, wasn't I just
about startled ? indeed, I was, for I thought I saw
Dick Harvey right in front of me as I turned to come
back, holding a bright new sickle over his head." I
felt the child tremble, and then I enquired, " Who is
Dick Harvey ? " " Oh, nobody in particular, don't
tell." Of course I have not told till now.
After supper we retired for the night. The next
morning the girls told me, that sometimes they placed
tiny scraps of bridecake, wrapped in tissue paper,
under their pillows at night, hoping they would
dream of " him : " at other times made a " dumb
cake," and gave me a recipe for making one, which I
Jenny told me too, that one evening when visiting
friends at Paignton, one of the party saw for the first
time the new moon : she called all the young folk out
on the balcony requesting each to bring a small hand-
mirror, to turn their back to the moon, and holding
up the mirrors to catch the reflection of the moon.
As many reflections as were cast on the glass, so
many years would pass before the marriage of the
holder took place. One charming girl of the party
told me : "I had three moons. Fancy that, my
dear, and you know how very old I am now, and
have three years of weary waiting yet."
That delightful family is broken up. The parents
are both dead, and the children are scattered to the
ends of the earth. Not one is left in England. Each
io ^ummit# auto Ctummit&
member has carried the old songs, the old dialect,
and the old folk-lore of the old country, into new
homes, in new countries, and there in time a new
generation will spring up, who will be taught the
traditions of the past ; and perhaps the incidents of
that happy All Hallowe'en, spent amidst the uplands
of dear old Devon, will form one of the pleasantest
Poor Dick Harvey never came to claim little Mary,
for, very soon after that happy evening, news came of
a great storm, and Dick, who was first officer of the
ss. Petrel, was lost with all hands in mid Atlantic.
Everywhere throughout the length and breadth of
Great Britain, the festive and fortune-telling practices
of this evening are observed in almost identical fash-
ion. Gray, in The Spell, tells us that
Two hazel-nuts I threw into the fire,
And to each nut I gave a sweetheart's name.
This, with the loudest bounce, me sore amazed,
That, in a flame of brightest colour blazed :
As blazed the nut so may thy passion grow,
For 'twas thy nut that did so brightly glow."
Then we have in Niit burning on All Halloweve,
by Charles Graydon, the following
These glowing nuts are emblems true,
Of what in human life we view ;
The ill-matched couple fret and fume,
And thus in strife themselves consume ;
feupergtitiong. 1 1
Or from each other wildly start,
And with a noise for ever part.
But see the happy, happy pair,
Of genuine love and truth sincere
With mutual fondness while they burn,
Still to each other kindly turn ;
And as the vital sparks decay,
Together gently sink away :
Till life's fierce ordeal being past,
Their mingled ashes rest at last.
Burns, too, contributes a long poem on " Hal-
loween," which gives us an insight into the manners
and traditions of the peasantry in the West of Scot-
land in his time.
The old goodwife's well hoarded nuts
Are round and round divided :
And many lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided :
Some kindle, couthie, side by side
And burn together trimly ;
Some start away with saucy pride
And jump out o'er the chimney
Full high that night.
RECIPE FOR MAKING A DUMB CAKE.
IN the preparation of a dumb cake, if perfection be
desired, it is imperative to observe strict: silence, and
to follow these instructions closely.
12 ummto anli Crummte.
Let any number of unmarried ladies each take a
handful of wheaten flour, and place it on a sheet of
white paper, then sprinkle it with as much salt as can
be held between the finger and thumb ; then, one
must put as much clear spring- water as will make it
into dough, which being done, each of the party must
roll it up, and spread it thin and broad, and each
maid must, at some distance apart, make the first
letters of their Christian and surname with a large
new pin, towards the end of the cake ; if more
christian-names than one, the first letter of each one
must be made. Then set the cake before the fire, and
each girl must sit down in a chair, as far from the
fire as the room will admit, not speaking a word all
the time. This must be done between eleven and
twelve o'clock at night. Each person in rotation
must turn the cake once, and five minutes after mid-
night the husband of her who is to be wed first will
appear and lay his hand upon that part of the cake
bearing her initials. From the Norwood Gipsy
If the cake be eaten, strict silence must be observed
from the moment a slice is cut. The person walks
backwards from the room, up the stairs, and after
undressing goes into bed, still backwards. Stumbling
and giggling are inadmissible. It is presumed that
happy dreams of " the loved one" will occupy the
hours of slumber.
OMENS AND DEATH TOKENS.
ADDISON says, " We suffer as much from trifling
accidents as from real evils. I have known the shoot-
ing of a star spoil a night's rest, and have seen a man
in love grow pale and lose his appetite upon the
plucking of a merrythought. A screech-owl at mid-
night has alarmed a family more than a band of rob-
bers ; nay, the voice of a cricket has struck more
terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so
inconsiderable which may not appear dreadful to an
imagination that is filled with omens and prognostica-
tions. A rusty nail or a crooked pin shoot up into
Belief in omens is not confined to the simple and
uneducated, but permeate every social grade.
Omens are said to be " the poetry of history."
Mary de Medici saw, in a dream, the brilliants of her
crown change into pearls symbols of tears and
mourning. The Stuart monarchs held that their sor-
rows and misfortunes were foretokened. The learned
Earl of Roscommon and Dr. Johnson were believers
in spectres and supernatural agencies.
The mountaineer makes the natural phenomena
which daily present themselves to him foretokens of
weal or woe. Dwellers in low-lying countries, too,
find signs in their surroundings to distress and disturb
their peace of mind. Each is continually inviting
bugbears to harass and worry him.
14 j^ummto anti Crummit#.
There is a strong belief that the robin, raven, mag-
pie, owl, and a nameless white bird, by the manner of
their flight, and other peculiarities of action, foretell
the approaching dissolution of some member of the
household which they visit. A robin sitting near a
window, uttering a plaintive weep, weep, weep,
presages sickness and death ; if he flies into an occu-
pied bedroom, then, death is near at hand.
A remarkable instance of credulity in robin-lore
came to my notice in 1891. The following was told
me by an educated lady, whose temperament is in
no way morbid or hysterical ; but is in herself bright,
cheerful, and religious. The sight of a robin carries
her memory back to some of the saddest days of her
life. Here is her story :
" In 1848 I was staying with my grandparents at
Ashburton, in Devonshire. My grandmother, having
a severe cold, went early to bed, and the weather
being oppressively hot, the window was left open.
Presently a robin, dishevelled and melancholy, flew
into the room and perched on the towel-rail. No
amount of persuasion could dislodge him, and at last
all efforts to eject him were abandoned. He continued
his sad weep, weep, weep, for at least an hour,
when he quietly flew out of the window. That night
grannie died. Again, in 1851, a robin, just as un-
happy and forlorn as the former one, flew into my
father's bedroom, exhibiting every sign of dejection.
Nor would he be easily driven off, but sought the
tester of the bed, where he continued his weep,
weep, weep. That night my father died.
" Again, in the autumn of 1884, while on a visit to
Dawlish with my husband and children, we often took
our books and work into the garden. One evening,
as usual, we were in the summer-house, the children
playing noisily, when a robin flew into their midst,
and hopped on the table, finally perching himself on
the handle of my work-basket. A more pitiable de-
jected little birdie could not be imagined, his feathers
were ruffled and touselled, and both wings drooped to
his feet. There he sat, uttering his dolorous weep,
weep, weep, for several minutes ; when we rose to
go into the house he followed, sometimes fluttering
along before us in the path, at others flitting from
bush to bush close at our side. Even after we had
closed the window we heard him on the shrubs out-
side, still pathetically uttering his doleful weep,
weep, weep. The next morning my dear husband,
who had gone along the Strand for a stroll while I
dressed the children for a walk, dropped suddenly
dead, and was brought home within a quarter of an
hour after leaving the house. Can you wonder at my
having a dread of a visit from a robin, after these
pitiful experiences ? "
THE WHITE BIRD OF THE OXENHAMS.
THERE exists in the family of the Oxenhams a tra-
dition that a bird with a white breast is always seen
1 6 jummtt# anD Crummto.
fluttering over their beds, previous to the death of a
member of their family.
The Oxenhams were an ancient family of consider-
able influence and importance, occupying and possess-
ing large and valuable properties in the vicinity of
Okehampton. But the glory of the house has de-
parted, though there are still branches of it at the
present time residing at South Tawton, who still re-
tain the tradition of the white bird. Very recently
(1892) an Oxenham has said that the bird appeared
to him, and very shortly afterwards his father died.
It therefore appears that this bird of ill-omen is a
legacy in perpetuity, bequeathed at an ill-starred
moment to his descendants by some unfortunate an-
cestor. There are numerous records of the appear-
ance of this bird prior to 1700, but the most interest-
ing is that which describes its visit to Sir James
Oxenham, on the eve of his daughter Margaret's
The full text of a poem giving details of the appear-
ance of the apparition, is given in " The Report and
Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the
Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art," for
1896, which was sent by Miss E. Gibbs, of South
Tawton, who copied it from the housekeeper's com-
monplace book at Oxenham House.
For those who may be unable to procure the whole
of the poem, I select one or two stanzas which may
Where lofty hills in grandeur meet,
And Taw meandering flows,
There is a calm and sweet retreat
Where once a mansion rose.
There dwelt Sir James of Oxenham,
A brave and liberal lord :
Benighted travellers never came
Unwelcome to his board.
Here it goes on to say that Margaret was sole
heiress to his property ; she was wooed by one
Bertram, who from a blow on the head became an
imbecile. Margaret's grief was great, but " con-
soling time healed the heart with anguish grieved,"
and " soft vermilion of her cheek again begins to
Then John the Knight of Roxamcave
Sought her fair hand to gain :
And he was handsome, young, and brave
How could he plead in vain ?
He fondly pressed his Margaret
To fix their nuptial day,
And on its joyful eve they met
With friends and kinsfolk gay.
1 8 ^ummto ann Crummto.
How happy was Sir James that night,
Unburdened of his care.
For he believed, with fond delight,
That heaven had heard his prayer.
Then up he rose, with joy elate,
To speak unto Sir John,
And rapt desire, outspeeding fate,
In thought he called him son.
But while the dear unpractised word
Was forming on his tongue,
He saw a silvery-breasted bird
Fly o'er the festive throng.
Now John, and Margaret, and her sire,
With many a dame and knight,
Ranged round the altar, heard the friar
Begin the holy rite.
When Margaret, with terrific screams,
Made all with horror start.
Oh, heavens ! her blood in torrents streamed,
A dagger's in her heart.
Behind stood Bertram, who then drew
Away the reeking blade ;
And frantically laughed to view
The life-blood of his maid.
" Now marry me, proud maid ! " he cried,
" Thy blood with mine shall wed."
Then dashed the dagger in his side,
And on the ground fell dead.
Poor Margaret, too, grows cold with death,
And round her, hovering, flies
The phantom bird for her last breath,
To bear it to the skies.
TRADITIONS OF THE COURTENAYS OF
THE countess Isabella is accredited with having
planted the oaks of Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor.
She, too, it was, who met a man on Bickleigh Hill,
near Tiverton, carrying a basket containing seven of
his baby children, to whom he intended to give " a
swim in the river Exe at Bickleigh Bridge." On
being asked by her what he was carrying, he replied,
" Puppies not worth rearing." Presently he con-
fessed that his wife had given him seven sons at a
birth, and fearing the lack of food and raiment, he
had determined to drown them. The countess adopted
them, and provided for their upbringing out of the
proceeds of her estates at Tiverton and Chumleigh.
ONE often hears issuing from the rafters and wood-
work of old houses sounds resembling the ticking of
20 jpummte anu Crummta.
a. watch. These clickings are produced by a small
insect known as the " Death-Watch. "
By nervous persons they are considered omens
Mrs. Hagland, a laundress, living at Tiverton,
came to me one morning in great distress of mind,
and her simple story will give a better insight into
the feelings of the superstitious than any thing I can
say. I give verbatim her account of a very unhappy
" I be zure zom'thing is gwaine tli 'appen tii me, or
mine, for all last night I kep' on hearing of the
Death- Watch, aticking, ticking, ticking, ess, he kep'
on ticking till he drawved me most mazed. He made
me think of my poar bwoy Bill whot's out to zay, 'e
tha' bin gone now for tii or dree yer ; I dii zim 'tez a
brave while ago I zeed 'n, but there God Almighty
'th tiiked kear aw'n zo var and I 'opes as how He
will 'et. I a'n't ahad ide-nor-tide aw'n zince he went
away and I dii zim tez a longful time agone that
I zeed'n. Well, as I wuz azaying of, I yeard that
Death-Watch aclicking all drii the night and dii
trubble me dreffel bad. Gi'th me the heart ache and
1 can't get no rest for thinkind aw'n ; 'tez all day and
ivvry day and all night tii. A mawther's heart is a
sorrowful thing tii car about, when her only cheel is zo
var away, and out tii zay tii. I've a yerd the Death-
Watch avore, and then my mawther died perty quick
afterwards, but he diddent tickee zo 'ard and zo
dismal-like as he did last night. It zimmed to me, as
how he zed, * tick ! tick ! tick ! tick ! wake up,
Mawther ! I be drownded ! I be drownded ! ' Ah !
Lord-a-massy ! if he be a drownded 'twill break my
heart. What diiee think mum ? "
Poor soul, she went away, crying bitterly. Bill
never came back, and now she has gone to her rest,
where there will be no more wakeful nights, or dread
born of the love-calls of a common insect.
Swift ridiculed the foolish fancy of predicting death
in this way, but ridicule, be it never so strong, does
not kill belief in the supernatural.
A wood -worm
That lies in old wood, like a hare in her form,
With teeth or with claws it will bite, or will scratch ;
And chambermaids christen this worm a death-watch
Because like a watch it always cries click ;
Then woe be to those in the house that be sick,
For, sure as a gun, they will give up the ghost.
If the maggot cries click when it scratches the post
But a kettle of scalding hot water ejected,
Infallibly cures the timber affected.
The omen is broken, the danger is over ;
The maggot will die, the sick will recover.
IF a corpse retains heat and flexibility it is said
that others of the same family will die before the
year is out.
22 jummite anli Crummto.
If a sheet or tablecloth is returned from the laun-
dry with a square fold in the centre, so,
it is said to portend the death of the <^
master or mistress of the house.
If letters cross in the post it is a sign of death.
SUPERSTITIONS ATTACHED TO THE
THERE are many superstitious customs attached to
the marriage ceremony, some of which are supposed
to endow the pair with blessings and an abundant
share of the good things of life, while others bring
only misfortune and disquietude.
Witches and pixies alas, are workers of evil, and
beset the path of the bride and bridegroom to and
from the church, plying their wicked tricks to the
detriment of the unhappy pair. The days of the
week, too, on which the ceremony is performed, in-
fluence their future, as the following lines testify :
Monday for wealth,
Tuesday for health,
Wednesday is the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses,
Saturday no luck at all.
Sunday is an exceptionally fortunate day upon
which to enter the holy state.
One often hears :
" Happy is the bride that the sun shines upon."
Among the customs bringing good luck to the pair,
are pelting them with rice as they leave the church
after the ceremony, and throwing old slippers at them,
too, as they leave the house for the honeymoon.
Happiness can be insured by observing certain
practices which have been in vogue for many centuries,
as for example : it is necessary to carry sprigs of rue
and rosemary and a few cloves of garlic in the pocket,
to enhance the felicity of the pair. The bride also
should carry a small packet of bread and cheese in
her pocket to give to the first woman or girl she
meets after leaving the church.
Dire calamities will overtake the couple if either of
these cherished practices are omitted, though the
perfume of garlic and rue added to the wedding
bouquets seems incongruous.
Now follow the unfortunate omens and events
attached to this momentous occasion. Should a
raven hover over their path, a cat, dog, or hare pass
between them, or should they encounter a toad, frog,
or other reptile, then terrible misfortunes will follow
them for all time. These creatures are supposed to
be the embodiment of pixies, witches, and every
species of evil spirit. Even his satanic majesty does
not object to assume the form of an animal, to enable
him to work certain ill on their future lives, and to
assist in contributing his share to their distress.
24 j]2ummit# ana Crummiw.
In Devon, when a. wife is of stronger will than her
husband, the people say, " Aw ess, the grey mare in
thickee 'ouze is the better 'oss," and ascribe her master-
fulness to her having visited and drank of the water
of the well of St. Keyne, in Cornwall.
DIVINATION BY THE BIBLE.
A PERSON wishing to know whether success or
failure is to attend his future, should open the Bible
at the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis, begin with the
third verse and end with the twenty-seventh : the
verse he first chooses will be typical of his future
fate, character, and success in life.
Another method practised by country folk on
almost every occasion, is to open the Bible at ran-
dom, and the words which first present themselves
decides the future lot of the enquirer.
In Devonshire, many persons when they have lost
anything, and suspect it to have been stolen, take the
front door key of their dwelling, and, in order to find
out the thief, tie this key to the Bible, placing it very
carefully on the eighteenth verse of the fiftieth Psalm.
(" When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst
with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.")
Two persons must then hold the book by the bow of
the key, and first repeat the name of the suspected
thief, and then the verse from the Psalm. If the
Bible moves, the suspected person is considered
guilty ; if it does not move, innocent.
CLOVER AND ASH-LEAF SUPERSTITION.
AN even leaved ash and a four leaved clover
Are certain to bring to me my true love
Before the day is over.
An even leaved ash and a four leaved clover are
beneficent attradlors of the opposite sex, for if one
finds an even leaved ash and holds it flat between
both hands, and repeats softly,
" With this even leaved ash between my hands
The first I meet will be my dear man."
then placing it in the palm of the gloved right hand,
" This placed in my glove
Will bring my own true love."
then remove it to the bosom and whisper,
" This even leaved ash in my bosom
Will give me, in the first man I meet
My true husband."
SALT, in country districts, is held as a sacred article,
and the vessel used to contain it is considered hal-
lowed and looked upon as a valuable possession.
Dire calamities follow on spilling salt, and a charm is
used to counteract the dread consequences. An old
nurse once told me that if a plate of salt be placed
on the breast of a corpse, it would help the dead to
26 ummit# an& Crummto,
rest peacefully, as it kept evil spirits from tormenting
the soul on its journey through the dark valley.
An old Devonshire friend has sent me the following
lines, which he is in the habit of repeating when
small matters go wrong in his household. I believe
they were written by the poet Gay, from whom he
must have learnt them when a child.
Alas, you know the cause too well !
The salt is spilt : to me it fell ;
Then, to contribute to my loss,
My knife and fork were laid across :
On Friday, too, the day I dread.
Would I were safe at home in bed !
Last night (I vow to heaven 'tis true)
Bounce from the fire a coffin flew.
Next post some fatal news shall tell
God send my absent friends are well !
ONEIROMANCY is the art of interpreting dreams.
This kind of divination is still in use among the
masses, and has been practised from the most remote
ages. In rural districts there are to be found ancient
dames whose interpretations of dreams are looked
upon with reverence, and are a source of revenue to
the old women.
At breakfast, it is not uncommon for members of
of a family to narrate their dreams, and seek the eluci-
" A dream is an ill-arranged adHon of the thinking
faculties during a state of partial sleep, and is but a
momentary impression, perfectly natural in its oper-
ation ; the state of mind which causes it being pro-
duced by temporary functional derangement."
If I dream of water pure,
Before the coming morn,
"Tis a sign I shall be poor,
And unto wealth not born.
If I dream of tasting beer,
Middling then will be my cheer
Chequered with the good and bad,
Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad ;
But should I dream of drinking wine,
Wealth and pleasure will be mine.
The stronger the drink, the better the cheer,
Dreams of my destiny appear.
The belief that dreams are indicative or symbolical
of coming events is very common among the masses.
Some persons look upon dreams as absolutely true
mediums of revealing the secrets of futurity.
The following few examples shew " the stuff which
dreams are made of."
Ass. To dream one sees an ass labouring under a
heavy burden, indicates that one will by dili-
gent application to business amass a fortune.
Absent ones. To dream of these ill, or in trouble,
shows they are in danger ; if well, it is a sign
they are prosperous.
28 ^ummitg antJ Crummto.
Angels. A happy dream, showing peace at home,
and a good understanding with your friends.
Baby. If you dream of holding a baby in your arms
it signifies trouble.
Bells. If you hear them ring it is a good sign, fore-
telling luck in business and speedy marriage.
Bees. That you see a swarm of bees signifies you
will be wise and highly respected. If they
disturb or sting you, you will lose friends, and
your sweetheart will abandon you.
Carriage. If you dream that you are shut up in a
carriage and cannot get out, it shows that your
false friends are scandalizing you ; and you
will suffer much at their hands.
Cats. Dreaming of cats shews that your female
friend are treacherous.
Cards. If you dream you are playing cards it sig-
nifies that you will shortly be married.
Dancing. This is fortunate. You will gain riches,
honour, and many friends. Your life will be
long, happy, and prosperous.
The Dead. To dream of the dead brings news of
Ducks. To see them in a pond swimming about is
an omen of good luck.
Eggs. That you are eating eggs shews you will be
delivered from great tribulation. That you
break them when raw, shews loss of friends
Empty Vessels shew that your life will be one of
toil and privation.
Eating. Portends sickness and death.
Fish. To dream of fish shows that you will have an
abundance of wealth and good things. Also
that you will be successful in love.
Fire. To dream of fire shews that you will have
Flowers. Always a good dream ; is a sure sign of
of joy, success and prosperity.
Garden. To dream of being in a beautiful garden
shews you will be rich and prosperous in love.
Glass. Broken glass foretells quarrels and family
Gold; To dream of gold portends riches.
Hares. To dream of these implies great trouble in
pecuniary matters and sickness.
Horses. Shews that your life will be long and
happy. If kicked by a horse you will have a
long and severe illness, and heavy misfortune.
Ivy. A sign that your friendships are true.
Inn. To dream that you are staying at an inn is a
most favourable one. It shews that you will
inherit a large fortune, be successful in all
your undertakings, and will enjoy much hap-
Jackdaw. Beware of danger and evil disposed
30 $lummit# anli Crummitg.
Journey. If you are about to take one in your
dream, you will meet with reverse of fortune.
Knives are always omens of some evil about to
Kiss. To dream that some one is kissing you, is a
sure sign that you are being deceived. To
dream that you are kissing some one whom
you love is a sign that your love is not recipro-
Larks. To dream of these birds is a good sign, as it
denotes that you will overcome all difficulties
that may come in your way, and you will
speedily rise to a good position.
Lightning without thunder is one of the very
luckiest dreams. To lovers it means happi-
ness ; to farmers, good crops ; and to sailors,
Mad Dogs. In dreams these are omens of success.
Magpies. That you will soon be married.
Nightingales. Nightingales singing are indicative
of bright days coming and a release from all
troubles and anxieties.
Nuts. Indicate the receipt of money.
Oats. Are lucky omens of success.
Onions. If you dream you are eating them you
will find much money.
Pall. One over a coffin is prophetic of a wedding
Parcel. If you carry one you should receive a
Quarrels. If you dream of them it is a sign that
you will soon be very profitably engaged in a
Rain. Is an omen of misfortune.
Rats. Prophesy enemies near at hand.
Teeth. To dream of, are the most unlucky of all
things. If they fall out it signifies much sick-
ness, if they all drop from the gums, death.
Ships. Sailing in clear water are favourable omens,
but if the water be murky, most unfavourable.
Silver Coins. Picking them up, unless there be
gold with them, is significant of impecuniosity.
Ugliness. If you see yourself reflected as very
ugly it is an omen of success.
Umbrellas. If you lose them it signifies losses in
Valentine. Dreaming of receiving one is a bad
sign, illness and trouble will soon be upon you.
Violin. If you are playing on one in your dream,
it denotes speedy marriage ; unless a string
breaks, then you will not marry at all.
Water. Dreaming of water, if it be clear will bring
good news, if dirty, bad news is at hand.
Wedding. One dreamed of signifies a funeral.
Yachting in clear water on a sunny day is pro-
phetic of very great happiness.
32 /ummit# anti Crummto.
Yew-trees. You will hear of the death of an aged
person in whom you have a vested interest.
In Mackay's Popular Delusions, 1869, occurs the
following passage, which seems too good to omit.
" Dreams, say all the wiseacres, are to be interpre-
ted by contraries. Thus, if you dream of filth, you
will acquire something valuable ; if of gold and silver,
you run the risk of being without either ; if of many
friends, you will be persecuted by many enemies.
The rule does not, however, hold good in all cases.
It is fortunate to dream of little pigs, but unfortunate
to dream of big bullocks. If you dream of fire you
will have hasty news from a far country ; if of ver-
min, you will have sickness in your family ; if of
serpents, your friends will become your bitterest
enemies ; if you are wallowing up to your neck in
mud and mire, you will be most fortunate in all your
undertakings. Clear water is a sign of grief; and
great troubles, distress, and perplexity are predicted
if you dream you are standing naked in the public
streets and know not where to turn for a garment to
shield you from the gaze of the multitude."
To dream of walking in a field,
Where new-born roses odours yield ;
If any of them you do pluck,
It shews in love much happy luck.
To dream of mountains, hills, or rocks,
Does signify flouts, scoffs, and mocks ;
Their pains in passing ever shew
That she whom you love, loves not you.
Dreams of joy and pleasant jests,
Dancing, merriment, and feasts,
Or any dream of recreation
Signifies love's declaration.
Dreams full of horror and confusion
Ending merrily in conclusion,
Shews storms of love are overblown,
And after sorrow joy shall come.
From Forty's Norwood Gipsy's Fortune-teller.
ST. MARK'S EVE.
REPAIR to the nearest churchyard as the clock
strikes twelve, and take from a grave on the south
side of the church three tufts of grass, and on going
to bed place them under your pillow, repeating
earnestly three several times,
The eve of St. Mark by prediction is blest,
Set therefore my hopes and my fears all to rest :
Let me know my fate, whether weal or woe ;
Whether my rank's to be high or low ;
Whether to live single or to be a bride,
And the destiny my star doth provide.
Should you have no dream that night, you will be
single and miserable all your life. If you dream of
thunder and lightning, your life will be one of great
difficulty and sorrow.
34 ^ummittf anti Crummit^
ST. JOHN'S EVE.
MAKE a new pincushion of the very best black silk
velvet (none other will do), and on one side stick
your name in the very smallest pins you can buy ; on
the other side make a cross with some large pins, and
surround it with a circle. Put this into your left-foot
stocking when you take it off at night, and hang it up
at the foot of the bed. All your future life will pass
before you in a dream. Mackay's Popular Delusions.
THE LEGEND OF ST. DECUMAN.
HAPPY Decuman was born of a good family in the
western part of Wales, of parents strict observers of
the Christian religion. He, after he had passed his
childhood at home, as he advanced in years, was of a
very good disposition ; and at length crossed the
Severn unknown to all his acquaintance, especially to
his relations, and to those who seemed to be more
nearly concerned for his welfare ; trusting in Christ
alone for his protection. But not to mention any-
thing more, he paid no freight and had no ship. This
good man relying upon the mercy of God, not doubt-
ing but that He would protect him, bound shrubs to-
gether, which he found growing by the sea-side, and
making use of such a vehicle committed himself to
the ocean. Being by divine providence directed, he
was carried to the opposite shore, near Dart's Castle.
There was in that part of the country in which he
landed, a desert place (presumably Exmoor) beset
with shrubs and briars, which were very long and
large, and by the hollowness of the vathes was won-
derfully separated. This place pleased him much :
changing his native country for a sort of exile, the
luxury of a palace for the dens of a desert. There he
began to dwell and to live upon roots and herbs,
leading the life of a hermit, and by such government
in the above-mentioned desert, he lived many years.
It is said also that he had a cow, by the milk of
which he was more kept alive than nourished, es-
pecially upon certain festival days. When the fore*
happy Decuman had flourished in virtues of every
kind, a certain man, but he, a man of Belial, enjoying
the holiness of so great a Father, drunk with passion,
rushed on, and in a brutish manner met him : and as
he spoke and prayed, he sent the Saint to Heaven by
cutting off his head.
But this also is not to be passed by in silence, for
when he was beheaded with a certain sort of crooked
hook, as 'tis reported, his body rose itself up and
begun with its dangling arms to carry his head from
the place where it was cut off even to a very clear
well of water, in which he washed his head with his
own hands as he was used to do ; which well, even to
this day, in memory and reverence of the Saint, is
called the pleasant well of St. Decuman, useful and
well for the inhabitants to drink. In which place his
head together with his body being afterwards sought
* This word fore, in the very old original MS., evidently means aforesaid.
36 |2ummit0 auto Crummitg.
for by the faithful and found, was delivered to be
Father Cressy, in his Church History, Ixxi, places
his martyrdom in the reign of King Ina, A.D. 706,
from the authority of Capgrave and the English
THE MISTLETOE CURSE.
MISTLETOE, a parasite chiefly found on oak and apple
trees, was held in great esteem by the Druids, who
affirmed that miraculous cures were efFedled by its
means. They ascribed to it a divine origin, and
bestowed upon it the name " Curer-of-all-ills."
The trees on which it grew, and the birds visiting
their branches, were considered sacred, and were
thought to be the messengers of the gods. When
mistletoe was required in the performance of their
sacred offices, great ceremony was observed in separa-
ting it from the limbs on which it grew ; the priests
using a golden sickle for the purpose.
Devonians believe that their county was cursed by
these ancient religious fathers, and the mistletoe for-
bidden by them to grow in it. Why this curse was
laid on Devon there is no record to show. A gentle-
man possessed an orchard, one half of which is in
Devon, and the other in Somersetshire, the division
of the counties being marked by a deep ditch. On
the Devon side the apple-trees are free, while on the
Somerset side this parasite grows in abundance. He
has tried in vain to cultivate it on trees in the banned
LEGEND OF THE GLASTONBURY THORN.
WHEN Joseph of Arimathea came to England he
visited Glastonbury, so the legend says, and being
wearied with the long climb up the hill, halted and
leaned on his stout black-thorn staff. The stick sank
into the soft mud on the wayside, took root, grew, and
bloomed on Old Christmas Eve. There it stands to
this day and always repeats the operation each suc-
cessive year. There is also a sacred spring at its
roots, in which thousands of persons came to bathe
on Old Christmas Eve, A.D. 1751.
This marvellous thorn has a rival in the grounds of
Clooneaven House, at Lynmouth, N. Devon, where
the little bush bursts into vigorous bloom for a few
hours at Christmastide. Very soon its flowers fade
and the plant assumes its normal condition until the
following spring, when it puts on its pretty green
dress like the rest of its species.
THE COW GHOST.
AT a hamlet near the parish of South Tawton, a
small town on the borders of Dartmoor, there is an
interesting story told of a ghost which assumes the
form of a remarkably handsome Guernsey Cow, and
appears at midnight promenading to and fro under
38 ^lummto auto Crummit#.
the spreading branches of an avenue of elm trees.
It is said that a lady having done some terrible deed
of darkness was transformed into a cow and con-
demned to walk nightly in this avenue for seventy
times seventy years, bellowing frantically in token of
the agonies experienced by this unhappy creature
during her long term of punishment.
THE CHAGFORD PIXIES.
As a gentleman, late at night, was driving across
the moor to Chagford, a village in mid- Devon, he
was startled by the merry tinkle of tiny bells. Lights
appeared in the meadows close at hand as of thous-
ands of glow-worms shedding their luminous rays on
every leaflet, while an innumerable company of small
people tripped joyously to the sportive music. Every
movement of this assemblage of fairies was distinctly
seen by him. He reined in his horse, and watched
for a considerable time their merry antics. He sat
motionless, the better to catch the spirit of the sportive
scene. The sward was crowded with myriads of sprites,
some waving garlands of tiny wild flowers, roses and
blue bells, others joining in the dance, while not a few
bestrode the slender stalks of tall grasses, which
scarcely bent beneath their feathery weight. All
went merrily till the shrill crow of chanticleer rang
out on the midnight air, when suddenly darkness fell
and the gorgeous scene with its fantastically attired
crowd vanished from the wayfarer's sight.
The villagers assert that on peaceful nights they
often hear the echoes of delightful music and the
tripping patter of tiny feet issuing from the meadows
and hill sides.
By wells and rills, in meadows green
We nightly dance our heyday guise,
And to our fairy king and queen
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies,
When larks 'gin sing,
Away we fling,
And babes new-born steal as we go ;
And elf in bed,
We leave instead,
And wend us laughing, ho ! ho ! ho !
THE GHOST OF THE BLACK-DOG.
A MAN having to walk from Princetown to Ply-
mouth took the road which crosses Roborough Down.
He started at four o'clock from the Duchy Hotel, and
as he walked at a good swinging pace, hoped to cover
the sixteen miles in about three hours and a half'
It was a lovely evening in December, cold and frosty,
the stars and a bright moon giving enough light to
enable him to see the roadway distinctly zigzagged
across the moor. Not a friendly pony or a quiet
Neddy crossed his path as he strode merrily onward
whistling as he went. After a while the desolation
of the scene seemed to strike him, and he felt terribly
40 $lummit0 ann Crummit#.
alone among the boulders and huge masses of gorse
which hemmed him in. On, on he pressed, till he
came to a village where a wayside inn tempted him
to rest awhile and have just one nip of something
" short " to keep his spirits up.
Passing the reservoir beds, he came out on an open
piece of road, with a pine copse on his right. Just
then he fancied he heard the pit-pat of feet gaining
upon him. Thinking it was a pedestrian bound for
Plymouth, he turned to accost his fellow traveller,
but there was no one visible, nor were any footfalls
then audible. Immediately on resuming his walk,
pit-pat, pit-pat, fell the echoes of feet again. And
suddenly there appeared close to his right side an
enormous dog, neither mastiff or bloodhound, but
what seemed to him to be a Newfoundland of im-
mense size. Dogs were always fond of him, and he
of them, so he took no heed of this (to him) lovely
canine specimen. Presently he spoke to him. " Well,
doggie, what a beauty you are : how far are you
going ? " at the same time lifting his hand to pat
him. Great was the man's astonishment to find no
resisting substance, though the form was certainly
there, for his hand passed right through the seeming
body of the animal. " Hulloh ! what's this ? " said
the bewildered traveller. As he spoke the great
glassy eyes gazed at him ; then the beast yawned, and
from his throat issued a stream of sulphurous breath.
Well, thought the man, I am in for it now ! I'll
trudge on as fast as legs can carry me, without letting
this queer customer think I am afraid of him.
With heart beating madly and feet actually flying
over the stony way, he hurried down the hill, the
dog never for a moment leaving him, or slackening
his speed. They soon reached a crossway, not far
from the fortifications. When, suddenly the man was
startled by a loud report, followed by a blinding flash,
as of lightning, which struck him senseless to the
ground. At daybreak, he was found by the driver of
the mail-cart, lying in the ditch at the roadside in an
unconscious state. Tradition says, that a foul mur-
der was many years ago committed at this spot, and
the victim's dog is doomed to traverse this road and
kill every man he encounters, until the perpetrator of
the deed has perished by his instrumentality.
There are similar legends of the doings of the
Black Dog throughout the county, and many way-
side public houses have " The Black Dog " for a sign.
SUPERSTITIONS ATTACHED TO CHURCH
IN ancient times church bells were anointed with
holy oil, exorcised, and blessed by the bishop, from a
belief that when these ceremonies had been per-
formed, they had the power to drive the devil out of
the air, to calm tempests, protect from lightning, and
keep away the plague.
42 jpummitg anli Crummitg.
The passing bell was anciently rung to bespeak
the prayers of all Christian people for a soul just de-
parting, and to drive away the evil spirit who stood
at the bed's foot to hinder its passage to the other
Men's death I tell by doleful knell,
Lightning and thunder I break asunder,
The winds so fierce I do disperse,
Men's cruel rage I do assuage.
A very frequent inscription on church bells in the
fifteenth century, was voce mea viva depells cunta
This is a proof of the belief that demons were
frightened away by the sound of bells. In a Cornish
belfry the following rhyme is found suspended a-
against the wall.
Therefore I'd have you not to vapour,
Nor blame the lads that use the clapper,
By which are scared the fiends of hell,
And all by virtue of a bell.
One often finds a list of rules displayed on the wall
of the belfry. The following are quaintly interesting.
Whoever in this place shall swear
Sixpence he shall pay therefor.
He that rings here in his hat
Threepence he shall pay for that.
Who overturns a bell, be sure
Threepence he shall pay therefor.
Who leaves his rope under feet
Threepence he shall pay for it.
A good ringer and a true heart
Will not refuse to stand a quart.
Who will not to these rules agree
Shall not belong to this belfrie.
Drewsteignton, Devon. John Hole, Ch : Warden.
The following are the rules, orders and regulations
found in the belfry at Brushford, Somerset.
Let awful silence first proclaimed be !
Next let us praise the Holy Trinity.
Then homage pay unto our valiant King,
And with a blessing raise the pleasant ring.
Hark ! now the chirping treble rings it clear,
And covering Tom comes rolling in the rear.
Now up and set, let us consult and see
What laws are best to keep sobriety.
Then all consent to make this joint decree
Let him who swears, or in an angry mood
Quarrels or strikes (although he draws no blood),
Or wears his hat, or spurs, or turns a bell,
Or by unskilful handling mars a peal,
Pay down sixpence for each crime !
(This caution shall not be effaced with time).
44 ^ummit^ auto Crummit&
But if the Sexton's these defaults should be,
From him demand a double penalty.
Whoever does his Parson disrespect,
Or Warden's order wilfully neglect
By one and all be held in foul disgrace
And ever banished this harmonious place.
Now round let's go with pleasure to the ear
And pierce with pleasing sounds the yielding air,
And when the bells are up, then let us sing
God save the Church, and bless Great George
A.D. 1803. June jth. Robert Gooding, Church-
The spelling in the original of the following notice
is a little " mixed."
I. H. S.
This is the belfry that is free
For all those who civil be,
And if you wish to chimeorring
There is no music playedorsung
Like unto bells when they'rewellrung.
Then ring your bells well if you can,
Silence is best for every man,
But if you ring in spurorhat,
Sixpence you pay be sure of that
And if a bell you overthrow
Pray pay a groat before you go.
All Saints, Hastings.
THE SEVENTH SON.
MANY persons believe that a seventh son can cure
diseases, but that a seventh son of a seventh son, and
no female child born between, can cure the King's
IN the West of England, Sunday is reckoned to be
the day forleaving off any article of clothing, as then
those who so divest themselves will have the prayers
of every congregation in their behalf, and are sure
not to catch cold.
It has also been remarked that rooks never attempt
to build their nests on Sunday, even though there are
but a few twigs necessary to complete them.
Some persons object to cut their nails, or turn
a feather bed on Sunday.
Things Lucky and Unlucky.
For every ill beneath the sun
There is some remedy, or none.
Should there be one, resolve to find it,
If not, submit ; and never mind it.
Things Lucky and Unlucky.
IT is difficult to define accurately the word ' unlucky '
as understood by people in general. It conveys to
their minds an indistinct supernatural and distressful
affliction, of an awful character, and for a long time a
troubled restlessness and fear of approaching evil
embitters every moment of their lives, until the
haunting dread wears itself out.
It however leaves behind a highly-strung nervous
feeling which springs into activity at the smallest
The following examples of people's belief in Devon-
shire, concerning luck, will perhaps be of interest.
IT IS LUCKY
To stumble on ascending stairs, steps or ladders :
it indicates speedy marriage.
To find a cast horse-shoe.
To see the new moon over the right shoulder if
one is out of doors.
To see a pin and pick it up will bring the very best
It is lucky :
To break a piece of pottery on Good Friday,
because the points of every sherd are supposed
to pierce the body of Judas Iscariot.
To wean a child on Good Friday.
To carry crooked coins in the pocket.
To receive the right hand of the bishop on one's
head at confirmation.
To sow all kinds of garden seeds on Good Friday.
Beans and peas sown on this day yield better
To plant all kinds of ornamental shrubs on Good
To see a company of fairies dancing in the adit of
a mine, as it indicates the presence of valuable
To pay money on the first of January, as it insures
the blessing of ready cash for all payments
throughout the year.
To spit over the right shoulder when one meets a
To meet a flock of sheep on the highway when on
To throw a pinch of salt into the mash when brew-
ing, to keep the witches out.
To rest bars of iron on vessels containing beer in
summer. They prevent " souring of the liquor "
in thundery weather.
To have crickets in the house.
an& Uttluttp. 51
It is lucky :
To see a star on the wick of a candle.
" There's a star in the candle to-night,
One bright little spot shining clear,
To make our heavy hearts light,
By shewing that a letter is near."
To carry a badger's tooth in the waiscoat pocket :
it brings luck at cards.
To have white specks on one's finger nails shews
that happiness is in store.
These specks are sometimes called " gifts."
" A gift on the thumb is sure to come,
A gift on the finger is sure to linger."
Or they may be thus enumerated :
" A gift, a friend, a foe,
A lover to come, a journey to go."
To be born on a Sunday; because you can see
spirits, and tame the dragon who watches over
To bite a baby's nails before it is a year old instead
of cutting them, as it ensures its honesty through
To put the left stocking on first.
To put the right foot first, because it ensures suc-
To fell trees at the wane of the moon, and when
the wind is in the North.
52 /pummte anli Crummit&
It is lucky :
To be the seventh son of a seventh son, for he
can, by passing his hand over the glands of the
neck of a person suffering from King's Evil, cure
On first hearing the cuckoo in spring one should
run in a circle three times with the sun, to ensure
good luck for the rest of the year.
If one hears the cuckoo to the right it portends
good fortune, but to hear his voice on the left is a
sure sign of impending misfortune.
On hearing the cuckoo's note in April run as fast
as possible to the nearest gate, and sit on the top
bar to drive away the spirit of laziness. Who ne-
glects to do this will be weak for a year, and have
no inclination to work until the ensuing spring
when the harbinger of spring again returns.
To possess a rope by which a person has been
hanged ensures good luck.
On opening a new business, or entering upon any
new commercial enterprise, the first money taken
should be turned over from hand to hand and spat
upon, to insure good luck in all future dealing.
IT IS UNLUCKY
To have an empty pocket (even a crooked coin
keeps the devil away).
To buy a broom in May
For it sweeps all luck away.
JLutty arili (Hnlucfcp. 53
It is unlucky :
To pass under a lean-to ladder without first cross-
ing the middle fingers over the front ones.
"This superstition," says the Weekly Western
News, Plymouth, " originates from an old coarse joke
formerly frequent among the lower class. It took its
rise from the fact that at the gallows at Tyburn the
culprit had to walk up a ladder, there being no plat-
form. The ladder was afterwards withdrawn and he
was left suspended."
To break a salt-cellar.
To spill salt at table without throwing a pinch over
the left shoulder.
To help one another to salt.
To kill a robin.
To tread on a cat's tail.
To kill crickets.
To omit to inform the bees of the death of a
relative, by tapping at each hive with the key of
the front door. It is necessary too, to say to
each hive as one taps " Maister is dead," or
" Missus is dead," as the case may be.
To forget to put the bees in mourning, by placing
a scrap of black crape or cloth on the top of each
To neglect to communicate any great social or
political event to the bees.
(The bees resent the omission of these ceremonies,
and in consequence cease work, dwindle and die).
54 Summits? auto Crummit&
It is unlucky :
To give a friend a knife ; as it cuts all love away.
To sneeze before breakfast.
To turn a feather-bed on Sunday.
To cut one's nails on Sunday.
To speak while the clock is striking.
To put a pair of boots on a table.
To put bellows on a table.
To stir the leaves in the teapot before pouring out
To have a kitten and a baby in a house together.
The kitten should be sent away in order to secure
good health to the baby.
To cross knives.
To kill a swallow.
To pass another person on a staircase.
To break a looking-glass, for it brings seven years
of trouble, or the loss of one's best friend.
To kill a small red spider, because this insecl is
supposed to bring money in its track, hence it is
often called the " money-spider."
To begin new undertakings on a Friday.
To wash clothes on Good Friday. This must be
studiously avoided to prevent any member of the
family dying before the year is out.
To return, or to look back when leaving the house
to start on a journey, or even when going for a
short walk. If compelled to return one should
sit down and rest for a few minutes before mak-
ing a fresh start.
Eticfep auto tlnluckp. 55
It is unlucky :
To eat any kind of fish from the head downwards,
as it is against the grain.
To whistle while underground, because it will
awaken the evil spirits which inhabit the caves
of the earth.
To be born with a blue vein across the nose.
To decorate a house with peacock's feathers.
For a miner to meet a snail when entering a mine,
as it betokens calamity, or probably the exhaus-
tion of the lode on which he is then at work.
To see one magpie in a field, or flying across the
road. Four magpies seen at one time presage
To reveal a child's Christian name before it is pre-
sented at the font for baptism.
To receive the left hand of the bishop on the head,
at confirmation. It conveys a ban instead of a
To burn bones, as it will bring pains and aches to
the person who does so.
To put an umbrella on a table.
For a cock to crow at midnight, or a dog to howl
between sun-set and sun-rise.
To change houses, or enter into service, on Friday.
To see a new moon through a glass window, or
door, or over the left shoulder.
5<5 ^lummitg anti Crummit^
It is unlucky :
The advent of a comet is supposed to forebode
disaster and national calamity.
An eclipse of the sun shews God's displeasure.
An eclipse of the moon, that the Devil was abroad
To see a pin and let it lie, you'll need that and
hundreds more before you die.
For a child to refrain from crying when presented
at the font for baptism. It is thought the more
it yells and screams, the quicker the evil spirits
will quit it.
For an unmarried person to be sponsor at a bap-
tism : for " First to the font, never to the altar."
To see a coffin-ring in a candle : it shews that some
member of the household, or a very near relation,
will very shortly die.
For a bird to flutter against the window-panes.
For a robin to fly into a room and utter its weep !
weep ! weep !
For a bride to take a last peep at the mirror before
starting for church.
To look back after starting on a journey. (Remem-
ber Lot's wife.)
To cut a baby's nails or hair before the child is a
To look into a mirror at dusk, or night-time, unless
the room is well lighted is not pleasant : for
there is a dread of something uncanny peeping
Eucfep anti ilnlucfcp. 57
It is unlucky :
over the shoulder ; such an apparition would
To bring into a poultry-farmer's house a small
bunch of primroses when these flowers first come
into bloom in the early spring. The number of
chicken reared that season, are supposed to agree
with the number of primroses brought in. (I
once saw a little girl severely punished for this
offence in South Devon.)
To hear the melancholy ticking of the " Death-
watch," in woodwork, is an omen of death.
" Because like a watch it always cries click,
Then woe be to those in the house that be sick."
To see a raven hovering over a house is ominous of
To take eggs from robins' or wrens' nests. Should
this be done, cows feeding in the neighbourhood
will yield discoloured milk, for
Robin Redbreast and Jenny Wren
Are God Almighty's cock and hen.
To transplant parsley.
To sit down at table as one of thirteen.
To put the left foot first in starting to walk, as it
indicates too much caution and brings disappoint-
For rooks to desert their rookery without any
apparent reason. This forebodes ill-luck to the
owners of the property. The heir will be kid-
58 jl*>ummit anti Crummte.
It is unlucky:
napped, or lost, and until the rooks return to their
quarters, will not be brought back.
If thou be hurt with the horn of hart,
It brings thee to thy bier,
But tusk of boar will leeches heal,
Thereof have lesser fear.
Who kills a spider,
Bad luck betides her.
To lose a mop or a broom at sea. Children bring
good luck to a ship.
To whistle on board ship, as it raises storms, and
enrages the devil, who in retaliation brews tem-
pestuous weather and causes shipwrecks.
Save a sailor from the sea,
And he'll become your enemy.
It is said if one's nose itches, that one will be
kissed, cursed, vexed, or shake hands with a
fool. To elude the three former ills one gener-
ally invites the nearest person at hand to give a
friendly grip. This appears to be rather rough
on the friend.
Fishermen are exceptionally superstitious and be-
lieve that ill-luck attends certain practices : for
instance, they would never think of turning a
craft against the sun, or of mentioning rabbits,
hares, or pigs, while aboard, nor will they lend
anything from one boat to another.
2lucfcp auto Qlnluckp. 59
It is unlucky :
If the first herring brought aboard for the
season is found to be a " melt," then a disastrous
time in the fishing world is to be expected. If
on the other hand the first brought in is a " roe,"
then hundreds of mease (600) will be caught and
full purses the result.
Fishermen consider it most unlucky to throw a cat
overboard, or to drown one at sea.
Whoso the wren robs of its nest,
Health loses in a day ;
The spoiler of the swallow's house,
Will ail and pine for aye.
And he who with his ruthless hands
Shall tear the robin's cot,
In his coffin shall have a guilty mark
A deep red gory spot.
When unfortunate at cards you should rise from
your chair, twist it round on one of its legs four
times. This action is supposed to change the
luck for the better.
If one's right ear gets very hot it shows that one's
friends are speaking in laudatory terms of one.
On the other hand, if one's left ear burns, then the
friends are " picking holes in one's jacket."
Let left or right burn at night, then all things are
well, both in and out of sight.
60 j]2ummit# anto Crummitjaf.
CERTAIN days in each month are supposed to be un
fortunate, upon which no new enterprise should be
undertaken. If one makes a bargain, plants or sows
in the garden, or begins a journey on either of these
days, misfortune will quickly follow.
Days of evil strife and hate ;
Cruel wrath and fell debate,
Planets strike and stars annoy,
Aspects, aught of good destroy,
Shun their calends,
Heed their power.
Nought begun in evil hour
E'er went well. Spirits o'er
Those days preside,
Who sport and gibe,
With human fate ;
Omens of hate,
Wrath and debate.
January, 3rd, 4th, 5th,
February, i3th, I7th,
March, i3th i5th, i6th.
April, 5th, i4th.
May, 8th, i4th.
August, 8th, 1 6th.
September, ist, i5th, i6th
November, i5th, i6th.
December, 6th, yth, nth.
Where is the Necromancer ? let him bring
His treasury of charms, rich syrups, herbs
Gathered in eclipse : or when shooting stars
Sow earth with pearls ; or, let him call his sprites
Till the air thickens, and the golden noon
Smote by his wings, is turned to sudden midnight.
WEST Country people generally, and Devonians in
particular, are exceedingly superstitious, in spite of
all that has been done for them in the way of higher
education, and the enlightening influence of the press.
Dwellers in the hilly parts of Devon, on Dartmoor
and Exmoor, and in the villages bordering upon
them, are as deeply imbued with faith in witches, as
their forefathers were in the days when Alfred was
According to tradition there are three kinds of
The Black Witch, who is of an intensely malig-
nant nature, and responsible for all the ills that flesh
is heir to.
The White Witch, of an opposite nature, is always
willing, for certain pecuniary considerations, to dis-
pense charms and philtres, to cancel the evil of the
The Grey Witch is the worst of all, for she pos-
64 j|2ummit0 anD Crummftg.
sesses the double power of either "overlooking" or
In cases of sickness, distress, or adversity, persons
at the present time (A.D. 1898) make long expensive
journeys to consult the white witch, and to gain relief
by her (or his) aid.
The surest method of escaping the influence of the
evil eye, is to draw blood from the person of the
witch. Shakespeare, in Henry III, says:
Devil or devil's dam, I'll conjure thee :
Blood will I draw. Thou art a witch.
A country man told me recently that he had " raped
old mother Tapp's arm with a great rusty nail two or
three times," till he made the blood flow freely. " She
can't hurt me again arter that," said he.
The mode of applying charms and medicaments
has been handed down to us from the remotest ages.
The witch doctor cured through the imagination.
" Conceit will kill and conceit will cure," said a cele-
brated Harley Street physician to a medical student
who one day applied to him for advice. It certainly
is the case with regard to talismans. Playing on a
patient's will and feelings, has stronger power in
curing disease than we are inclined to credit. To the
powerful influence of strong-minded, unscrupulous
persons over those of weaker constitution may be
attributed the success of the nostrums prescribed.
Added to the physical presence of the charm, the
hypnotic persuasion of the operator compels the
patient to believe that a cure has been effected
through the charm.
Pinches of powdered plants, scraps of inscribed
vellum, dried limbs of loathsome reptiles, juices of
poisonous herbs, blood, excrements, and gruesome
compositions all blend together to make up the
witch's charms. Who among the weak in mind, the
uneducated, and the frivolous could resist falling
a victim to the seductive attraction of a talisman,
whose virtues would secure health, wealth and happi-
ness ? Much of a witch's success depended on the
unremitting persuasive force she exerted on her
patients to stimulate them to believe implicitly in her.
This once attained, her influence became unlimited.
The degree of strength exerted affected the progress
of convalescence. For mercenary reasons the witch
took care that a cure was not too quickly brought
I have interviewed many a believer in the efficacy
of charms, and from them obtained curious examples
of miscellaneous articles claiming miraculous powers
to heal. Besides the sale of charms the white witch
cures diseases by " striking " and blessing. The fol-
lowing are a few examples.
TO SECURE LUCK AT GAMES OF CHANCE.
SUSPEND by a silken cord around the neck, a section
of the rope with which a person has been hanged.
66 $lummto anli Crummitg.
TO CURE SKIN DISEASE.
PLACE the poison found in a. toad's head in a leathern
bag one inch square : enclose this in a white silk
bag, tie it round the neck, allowing the bag to lie
on the pit of the stomach. On the third day the
patient will be sick. Remove and bury the bag. As
it rots so will the patient get well.
TO CHARM AWAY HOUSE FLIES.
GATHER and dry as much of the herb Fleabane as
you can find. Each morning during the months of
June, July and August, burn a handful of the herb in
the rooms. The smoke will drive the flies from the
TO REMOVE WARTS.
Take an eel and cut off the head.
Rub the warts with the blood of the head.
Then bury the head in the ground.
When the head is rotten the warts fall off.
TO HEAL BURNS.
THE witch repeats the following prayer while pass-
ing her hand three times over the burn :
Three wise men came from the east,
One brought fire, two carried frost.
Out fire ! In frost !
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
TO BRING CREAM TO BUTTER.
Come, butter, come,
Come, butter, come,
Peter's waiting at the gate,
Waiting for a buttered cake.
Come, butter, come.
CHARMS FOR TOOTHACHE,
(i) Carry a dead person's tooth in the left waist-
(2) Bite a tooth from the jaw of a disinterred
(3) "As Peter sat weeping on a stone our Saviour
passed by and said, ' Peter, why weepest thou ? '
Peter said unto Him, ' I have got the toothache.'
Our Saviour replied, ' Arise and be sound.' "
And whosoever keeps this in memory or in writing
will never suffer from toothache.
( 4 )-Mix
Two quarts of rat's broth.
One ounce of camphor.
One ounce essence of cloves.
Dose Take one teaspoonful three times a day.
TO CURE THE COLIC.
Mix equal quantities of elixir of toads and powdered
Dose Half a teaspoonful fasting for three successive
68 j]2ummit0 ann Crummto.
TO CHARM A BRUISE.
Holy chicha ! Holy chicha !
This bruise will get well by-and-bye.
Up sun high ! Down moon low !
This bruise will be quite well very soon !
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
TO STAUNCH BLOOD.
As Christ was born in Bethlehem and baptized in
the river Jordan, He said to the water, " Be still.''
So shall thy blood cease to flow. In the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
TO FRUSTRATE THE POWER OF THE
TAKE a cast horse shoe, nail it over the front door,
points upwards. While nailing it up chant in mono-
tone the following :
So as the fire do melt the wax
And wind blows smoke away,
So in the presence of the Lord
The wicked shall decay,
The wicked shall decay. Amen.
TO INSURE GOOD SIGHT.
Fennel, rose, vervain, celandine and rue,
Do water make which will the sight renew.
TO KNOW IF ONE'S PRESENT FIANCE
WILL BE TRUE.
PROCURE from a. butcher a bladebone of a shoulder
of lamb divested of all the meat. Borrow a penknife
from an unmarried man, but do not say for what
purpose it is required. Take a yard of white ribbon,
and having tied it to the bone, hang it as high in
your bedroom chimney as you can conveniently
reach. On going to bed pierce the bone with the
knife once, for nine successive nights, in a different
place each night, repeat while doing so, the following :
Tiz not this bone I means to stick,
But my lover's heart I means to prick,
Wishing him neither rest nor sleep,
Till unto me he comes to speak.
At the end of nine days your sweetheart will ask
you to bind a wounded finger, or to attend to a cut
which he will have met with during the time the
charm was being used.
TO CAUSE A FUTURE SPOUSE TO
WHOSO wishes to see the spectre of a future hus-
band can do so by performing the following rite.
Retire to bed just before midnight, as quietly as pos-
sible. Remove the left garter, and tie it round the
70 Jliummto auto Ctummit*.
right stocking, while doing so repeat the following :
This knot I knit, to know the thing I know not yet
That I may see, the man that shall my husband be,
How he goes, and what he wears,
And what he does all days and years.
During the night, the future " he " will appear
dressed in his ordinary attire, carrying some badge of
his trade or profession.
TO DISCOVER THE INITIALS OF YOUR
ON October 28th, the day dedicated to Saints
Simeon and Jude, is the most propitious on which to
use the following incantation for the discovery of the
future one's initials. Take a fine round apple, peel
it in one whole length. Take the paring in the right
hand, stand in the centre of a large room, and while
waving the paring gently round your head repeat :
St. Simeon and St. Jude on you I intrude,
By this paring I hold to discover.
Without delay, tell me I pray,
The first letters of my own true lover.
Then drop the paring over the left shoulder and it
will form the initial of your future husband's name ;
if it break up into small pieces you will die an old
TO SEE ONE'S FUTURE HUSBAND BY
CHARMING THE MOON.
ON seeing the new moon, make the sign of the
cross three times in the air, and once on your fore-
head. Clasp both hands tightly together and hold
them in a supplicating attitude, uplifted towards the
moon. Then repeat :
All hail, all hail, to thee,
All hail to thee, new moon,
I pray to thee, new moon,
Before thou growest old,
To reveal unto me,
Who my true love shall be !
Before the moon is at full the suppliant will see her
TO CURE ZWEEMY-HEADEDNESS.
WASH the head with plenty of old rum. The back
and face with sour wine ; wear flannel next the skin,
and carry a packet of salt in the left-hand pocket.
CHARM FOR A THORN IN THE FLESH.
OUR dear Lord Jesus Christ was pricked with
thorns. His blood went back to Heaven again, His
flesh neither cankered, rankled, nor festered, neither
shall thine, M. or N. In the name of the Father, Son
and Holy Ghost. Amen, Amen, Amen.
72 j]2ummtt# arto Crummitg.
THE HALF-CROWN CHARM FOR THE
CURE OF KING'S EVIL.
AFTER morning service in the parish church, the
nearest male relative, in the case of a woman ; or in
the case of a man, the nearest female relative, stations
him or her self, on the right-hand side of the porch,
holding his or her hat, into which young men (or
women), between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one,
drop a penny to the number of thirty. The pennies
so collected are changed for a silver half-crown. The
centre of this coin is cut out, and the outer ring is
suspended as a charm to the neck of the afflicted
person. The centre piece is reserved until the next
funeral takes place, when it is dropped into the grave
just before the coffin is lowered into it.
TO CURE INFLAMMATION.
SCOUR the inflamed part with strong brine, after-
wards wash with plenty of soap, plenty too of hot
water. Eat much raw beef for nine days.
A white witch professed to be able to restore a lost
sum of money by the following incantation.
Flibberty, gibberty, flasky flum,
Calafac, tarada, lara, wagra wum.
Hooky, maroosky, whatever's the sum,
Heigho ! Presto ! Money corne !
In the name of the Father, the Holy Ghost, and
Son. Amen ! Amen !
The word "Abracadabra" written on parchment
was given by an Exeter white witch, to a person who
desired to possess a talisman against the dominion of
the grey witch, pixies, evil spirits and the powers of
darkness ! It cost a guinea, and was sewn up in a
small black silk bag one inch square. This was hung
round the neck and never removed. Should it by
chance fall to the ground, all its properties for good
would be lost and a new charm must be procured
from the same white witch,
or dire misfortune would over-
take the owner. In " Remi-
niscences and Reflections," of
an old West Country clergy-
man (the Rev. W. H. Thorn-
ton, rector of North Bovey),
the word "Abracadabra" oc-
curs on page 44, in connection
with a meeting of spiritualists, held in London in 1848.
CHARM FOR PROTECTION FROM ENEMIES.
THIS talisman should be made ot pure cast iron and
engraven at the time of new moon.
Before suspending it round the
neck fumigate it with the smoke
of burnt Spirits of Mars (a mix-
ture of red saunders, frankin-
cense, and red pepper), or a ring
of pure gold might be made, with the characters en-
74 j&ummit* anfc
graven on the inside. The size and form of this talis-
man is immaterial so long as the proper time for
making it is observed and the prescribed incense is
used before it is worn. In any form it will protect one
from enemies, and counteract the power of the evil eye.
CHARM FOR OBTAINING LOVE AND FOR SUCCESS IN ALL
WHOEVER wears this charm, written on virgin
parchment, and sewn up in a
small round silken bag continu-
ously over the heart, will obtain
all the love he or she may desire,
and will be successful in every
For amulets against ague one must use chips of a
gallows. These chips must be sewn into silken bags
and worn near the heart.
TO DESTROY THE POWER OF A WITCH.
TAKE three small-necked stone jars : place in each the
liver of a frog stuck full of new pins, and the heart of
a toad stuck full of thorns from the holy thorn bush.
Cork and seal each jar. Bury in three different
churchyard paths seven inches from the surface and
seven feet from the porch. While in the act of bury-
ing each jar repeat the Lord's prayer backwards.
As the hearts and livers decay so will the witch's
power vanish. After performing this ceremony no
witch can have any power over the operator.
TO DISPEL VAPOURS AND DRIVE AWAY
ST. John's Wort, or Devil's Flight, gathered on
St. John's Day or on a Friday, dried and placed in a
closely-covered jar and hung in a window, will protect
the house from thunderbolts, storms, fire, and evil
If the flowers and leaves are dried and ground into
powder and then placed in a silken bag and hung
round the neck, the person will be successful in love,
and be cured of the vapours and all mental afflictions.
To insure perfect immunity from these ills, it is
necessary to operate in July, on the evening of the
TO PREVENT FLEAS FROM ENTERING
WHEN you first hear the cuckoo in the Spring, take
some of the earth from the place on which your right
foot is standing, and sprinkle it on the threshold of
your front door; but speak of it to no one. Neither
fleas, beetles, earwigs, or vermin of any sort will
TO CURE TOOTHACHE.
CUT your toe and finger nails, take these parings,
wrap in tissue paper, and insert the packet into a slit
made in the bark of an ash tree before sunrise. You
will never have toothache again as long as you live.
76 $lummit# anti Crummitg.
TO CURE SORE THROAT.
READ the eighth Psalm seven times for three suc-
cessive mornings over the patient.
TO ASSIST CHILDREN IN TEETHING.
MAKE a necklace of beads cut from the root of
henbane and place round the child's neck.
TO CURE KING'S EVIL.
BAKE a toad and when dried sufficiently to roll into
powder, beat up in a stone mortar, mix with pow-
dered vervain. Sew in a silken bag and wear round
TO COUNTERACT THE EVIL OF SEEING
BIRDS OF ILL OMEN.
ONE should repeat seven times the following :
" Clean birds by sevens, unclean birds by twos,
The dove in the heavens, is the bird which I choose."
TO CURE BLEEDING OF THE NOSE.
TAKE one or two fine old toads, place them in a cold
oven, increase the heat until sufficiently fierce to cook
the toads and reduce them to a brown crisp mass.
Remove from the oven and beat them to powder in a
stone mortar. Place the powder in a box and use as
TO CURE DROPSY.
TAKE several large fully-grown toads, place them in
a vessel in which they can be burned without their
ashes becoming mixed with any foreign matter.
When reduced to ashes, pound them in a stone
mortar. Place the ashes in a wide-mouthed jar, cork
closely and keep in a dry place.
Dose. One teaspoonful of ashes in milk to be
taken at the growing of the moon for nine mornings.
TO CURE DIARRHCEA.
TAKE a stale Good-Friday cross-bun and place it in
a hot oven to dry. By grating when hard into
powder, and, when required, mixing it with cold water
and taken as a medicine, it will cure diarrhoea.
When Good-Friday comes, an old woman runs
With one, or two-a-penny hot-cross-buns.
Whose virtue is, if you'll believe what's said,
They'll not grow mouldy like the common bread.
TO CURE ITCHING.
To cure itching in the palm of the hand
Rub it on the eye,
'Twill go by-and-bye ;
Rub it on wood,
'Twill sure to come good.
TO CURE SCIATICA OR BONESHAVE.
TAKE a pail of clean river water, dipped from
the down-flowing stream, a pair of shears, a large
key, and a new table knife. Dip the knife into the
pail of water, draw it back upwards, downwards and
across the hip three times each way. Then dip the
key into the water and proceed as before. Then dip
the shears into water, shear the hip as though it were
covered with wool. Return the water left in the
bucket to the river and sing
As this watter goeth to zay,
So flow boneshave away.
TO CURE BARNGUN, OR RINGWORM.
BARNGUN is cured by blessing, and the outward ap-
plication of clotted cream, thus : Take three locks of
wool one white, one grey, one black dip them into
a basin of clotted cream, and when thoroughly satur-
ated, take each lock and rub in succession each in-
fected spot on the skin. Hang the wool on sprigs of
white thorn against the wind to dry. Repeat this
process five, seven, or nine times, as the case may
require. While lubricating the sores chant in mono-
tone the following : There were three angels come
from the west, to cure Simon Fluke (or other) of the
barngun, white barngun, red barngun, black barngun,
aching, sticking, pricking, barngun, all sorts of barn-
gun, barngun-biibee, ill will I prove 'e. I stick thee
up on thees yer thorn, there thou shalt die, and never
come near'n no more, in the name of the Father, Son
and Holy Ghost. Amen.
A CURE FOR RHEUMATISM.
AN ancient Devonshire superstition is the potato-cure
for rheumatism, which should be applied in this way.
Take a freshly dug early grown kidney potato, wash
it free from soil, and ask a member of the opposite
sex to yourself, to place it unobserved in a pocket of
one of your garments. Having once worn the tuber
you can change it yourself into another pocket at
will, but it must be worn continuously, not inter-
mittently, or its charm will be lost. It is believed
that as the potato hardens the rheumatism will leave
the system. A common practice among agricultural
labourers, is to carry one in every waistcoat pocket
until its looks like a small grey stone, and has become
quite as hard.
A CHARM TO CURE WHOOPING COUGH.
BRING an ass before the door of the house, into
whose mouth thrust a slice of new bread, then pass
the sick child three times over and under the animal's
body, and the charm is completed.
A CHARM WHICH PROTECTS FROM
THIEVES AND ENEMIES.
SAY daily at sunrise :
In the power of God, I walk on my way
In the meekness of Christ, what thieves soe'er I meet
The Holy Ghost to-day shall me keep.
Whether I sit, or stand, walk or sleep,
The shining of the sun
Also the brightness of his beams, shall me help.
The faith of Isaac to-day shall me lead ;
8o 2ummit# antr Crummte.
The sufferings of Jacob to-day be my speed.
The devotion of the holy Lamb thieves shall let,
The strength of Jesus's passion them beset,
The dread of death hold thieves low,
The wisdom of Solomon cause their overthrow.
The sufferings of Job set them in hold,
The chastity of Daniel let what they would.
The speech of Isaac their speech shall spill,
The languishing faith of Jerom let them of their will.
The flaming fires of hell to hit them, I bequeath,
The deepness of the deep sea, their hearts to grieve
The help of Heaven cause thieves to stand.
He that made the sun and moon bind them with his
So sure as St. Bartholomew bound the fiend,
With the hair of his beard.
With these three sacred names of God known and
Miser, Sue, Tetragrammaton, Christ Jesus ! Amen.
TO BRING SPIRITS TO YOU.
ANOINT your eyes for three days with the combined
juices of the herbs, dill, vervain, and St. John's-wort,
and the spirits in the air will become visible to you.
A CHARM TO STOP BLEEDING AT
SAY nine times with great faith these words :
Blood abide in this vein as Christ abideth in the
church, and hide in thee as Christ hideth from himself.
The bleeding will presently cease.
A CHARM SUNG BY WITCHES WHILE
GATHERING HERBS FOR MAGICAL
Hail to thee, holy herb,
Growing on the ground,
All on Mount Calvary
First wast thou found.
Thou art good for many sores,
And healeth many a wound ;
In the name of St. Jesu !
I take thee from the ground.
The muttering of this charm, while concocfting
drugs or simples, balsams or elixirs, contributes
marvellously to their efficacy.
ANOTHER REMEDY FOR STAUNCHING
TAKE a fine full-grown toad ; kill him, then take three
bricks and keep in a very hot oven until they are red-
hot. Take one out and place the toad upon it ; when
the brick is cold remove the toad ; then take the
other bricks and place the toad on them successively
until he be reduced to powder. Then take the toad-
ashes and sew them up carefully in a silk bag one-
and-a-half inch square. When one is bleeding place
this bag on the heart of the sufferer, and it will
instantly stay the bleeding of the nose or any
82 /pummitg anu Crummit&
TO DISCOVER IF ONE WILL EVER
ON Christmas eve go into the yard and tap smartly at
the door of the hen-house. If a hen first cackles,
you will never marry, but if a cock crows first then
you will marry before the end of the coming year.
ANOTHER CURE FOR WARTS.
TAKE as many small stones from a running stream
as you have warts, put them tightly into a clean
white bag, and throw them into the highway or
street. Then wash each wart in strong vinegar seven
successive mornings. Whoever picks up the bag of
stones will get a transfer of the warts.
TO CURE A FEVER.
WRITE on parchment the following and bind it over
the heart of the patient.
" In the name of St. Exuperus and St. Honorius,
fall-fever, spring-fever, quartian, quintain, ago, super
ago, consummatum est." While fixing this charm to
the patient, repeat three Paters and three Aves. The
patient will recover after wearing the charm nine days.
THE HERRING-BONE CHARM TO CAUSE
SEW into a garment which is worn next to the skin
a long thin herring-bone. As the bone dries up, or
withers, so will the person wearing it gradually pine
away and die.
PLANET RULING BY AN EXETER
A LADY wishing to verify the statement that C. of
Exeter " ruled the planets, thereby foretelling inter-
esting facts in connexion with the future," sent him
five shillings, stating at the same time, the hour, date,
and year of her birth. The following are a few ex-
tracts from the reply, which consisted of eight closely-
written pages of foolscap paper.
Born, June i3th, 1874.
At 7 hours 13 minutes, p.m.
At the time of this birth the igth degree of the
sign Libra ascended the Eastern Horizon, and the
26th degree of the sign Cancer culminated, and
Venus who rules or governs the ascendant was posi-
ted in the sign Taurus in the eighth house. Saturn
was posited in Scorpio retrograde.
* * . * *
This is a sign of a tine with Saturn. Mars and
Mercury were in conjunction in Pisces in the ninth
house. The moon was in Sagittarius applying to a
tine with the Sun in Aries in the seventh house.
* x # #
The above configuration of the planets shews the
native to be over the middle height, with a fine well-
proportioned body, neatly compacted, moderately
fleshy, but not stout, or corpulent ; brown hair and
good complexion, tending to sanguine. Fine brown
84 ^pummte ant! Crummit#.
eyes, with tender expression. Of cheerful disposi-
tion ; merry and mirthful, persevering in all under-
takings, loves neatness in dress, never guilty of
extravagance or unworthy action. Of high intelli-
gence and graceful carriage.
As regards husbands. The native will do well to
be cautious in selecting her husbands. The first will
be respectable, fond of wine, often intemperate, care-
less in business. Tall, stout, and of a passionate
disposition, careless in money matters, but generous
at times. Fond of the pleasures of the table, and
will die suddenly. The second husband will be tall,
handsome, with a good complexion, hasty tempered
but soon appeased, generous, free spirited, will be
possessed of substantial means, fond of manly sports
and exercises, highly cultured and intellectual. The
native must temporize with him, and will then easily
get her own way in most things.
She will always have pecuniary worries, and must
therefore be very careful in all money matters. At
forty she will lose a relative, but will not be much
prejudiced thereby. She must never make a friend
of, or trust any dark woman older than herself. She
will have many friends and be popular amongst her
acquaintances. At about fifty-four or sixty-eight she
will have great trouble, a bad illness, or some untoward
event is likely to occur.
The " native " died when about thirty. She mar-
ried a very tall, pale, thin man, who survives her.
IN many parts of Devonshire and other western
counties, the fourth Sunday in Lent is observed as a
holiday, under the title of Mothering Sunday. Ser-
vants, apprentices, and young working-folks in general
visit their parents, and between them make up very
happy home parties. The previous Saturday is a
busy day, for the mother is looking forward with
great pleasure to the morrow's meetings and festivi-
ties. She busies herself in preparing the materials
for a good dinner for the joyous youngsters, and gives
them the very best she can afford. Of course the
mother ing -cake is her chief care. It is big and rich,
and must be well baked, sugared, and ornamented
with fanciful designs. The dinner on Sunday con-
sists of a hind quarter of lamb with mint sauce, a
well-boiled suet pudding, seakale, and cauliflower,
wheat furmity, with home-made wines. The day is
one of mirthful enjoyment, mutual congratulations,
88 Jl^ummto anli Ctummitg.
and benevolence. The remains of the feast are
usually distributed amongst needy neighbours who are
unable to purchase these delicacies for themselves.
The custom arose from the practice of our Roman
Catholic ancestors going in procession on Mid-lent
Sunday, from the most distant parts of their parishes,
to visit the Mother Church ; and, according to the
custom of the times, much of the day, though nomi-
nally set apart for a religious service, was devoted to
festivity and mirth. Instances of such perverted in-
stitutions are to be met with in the saints' festivals,
the wakes, the revels, the church-ales, and fairs, many
of which are still kept up in country villages, to say
nothing of the more riotous festivities of Lent,
Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas.
I'll to thee a simnel bring,
Gainst thou go a-mothering ;
So that when she blesseth thee,
Half that blessing thou'lt give me.
THE HOBBY HORSE.
A FORM of amusement popular in Devon and Corn-
wall is that of the Hobby Horse. This practice of
assuming the forms of animals and counterfeiting
their actions is of ancient date and probably formed
part of the Roman Saturnalia.
The hobby horse consists of a compound figure.
The head and tail of a horse, with a light wooden
frame for the body (generally a couple of very slender
hurdles joined at the top bars) is attached to the
shoulders of a couple of strong youths, one in front
with his head covered with a horse-faced mask, and
another at the back who cleverly conceals his head
under the frame.
The frame covered with trappings reaching to the
ground hides the feet of the actors and prevents the
discovery that the supposed horse has none. Thus
equipped the men prance about, imitating the curvet-
tings and motions of a horse.
As the hobby horse perambulates the streets and
capers about, the village band preceding it, the
children strike at it with whips and sticks ; uproarious
shouts of laughter rend the air, and a great deal of
rough play is indulged in.
FROM the time of the Roman evacuation of Bri-
tain, A.D. 410, May Day festivals have been ob-
served throughout the country. The Saxons retained
the worship of Maia, the mother of Jupiter, on the
first of the month, and from this custom the month
derived its name.
This popular festival was observed with the joyful
ringing of bells, music, dancing, and mummings.
Every building was covered with a profusion of floral
decorations. Kings and queens did not object to join
90 j^ummto auto Crummte.
the members of their Court, civic dignitaries, and the
populace, in the enjoyment of May Day gaieties.
The makers of the fun adorned themselves with
wreaths and festoons of flowers. Girls, wearing a
profusion of flowers, danced around the Maypole to
the wild strains of fifes and drums. Men visited the
beer shops, where they imbibed more than was good
As the custom grew old, abuses crept in, and what
was once a picturesque and innocent recreation de-
generated into frantic drunken revels, which were
a scandal and a nuisance.
There were, and still are, numerous superstitions
attached to the merry month of May. Marriages
taking place in May are supposed to bring ill-luck to
the contracting parties. Cats born in this month are
regarded as unpleasant creatures to have about one,
as the practice of bringing into the house snakes,
toads, and other objectionable vermin is ascribed to
May-dew, collected before or close upon sun-rise,
is looked upon as an infallible beautifier of the com-
plexion. Young girls arose early to wash their faces
in it with the hope that their charms would be in-
creased. On returning from the fields they would
gather branches of hawthorn bloom, and suspend it
over the entrance to the house, to protect it and
themselves from the spells of witches and the evil
On the first of May, persons were sent on ridiculous
errands, and on their return, empty handed, were
derisively addressed as May giize-chicks, or May
The old-fashioned demonstrations of mirth and
hilarity have dwindled to feeble exhibitions of ill-
dressed dolls, decked with wild flowers, carried in the
hands of village children from house to house, where
the occupants reward them with a few sweets or
pence. Then the children sing the following words.
Round the Maypole
Trit, trit, trot,
See what a Maypole
We have got,
Fine and gay,
Happy is our New May-day.
Good morning, merry gentlefolks !
We wish you a happy May ;
We come to show our May garland,
Because 'tis the first of May.
Come kiss my face.
And smell my mace,
And give the little children
At Helston, in Cornwall, the May-day festivals are
still observed with all the old-time spirit and enthus-
92 ^ummit# and Crummitg.
THE ASHEN FAGGOT.
THE custom of burning the yule log is observed in
large country houses, at the present time, on Christ-
mas Eve, but where the fireplaces are contracted and
slow-combustion grates the vogue, small branches of
green ash, are cut fresh from the plantation. These
sawn into lengths the width of the grate are tied into
faggots with four or five strong binds of bramble
canes. Very large faggots, which are intended to be
burnt in old-fashioned kitchen fireplaces, are bound
with chains. The bramble binds are a source of
much amusement, for soon after being placed on the
dogs, they burn through, one by one. Before they
begin to light and burn, each of the youngest mem-
bers of the family choose a bind, and whose is first
burnt through will be the first to marry. It is cus-
tomary for the company to drink a quart of cider at
the bursting of each bind, so that by the time the
whole have given way, there has been a large con-
sumption of that beverage. It soon begins to in-
fluence the flow of spirits and induces a hilarious state
of mind, increasing in strength as the night advances.
THIS is a festival of the Romish church, designed to
commemorate the finding of the Cross upon which
Jesus suffered, by St. Helena.
On the first Monday after the third of May, this
festival is annually held at Bovey Tracy. It is known
as Roodmas Day. A procession is formed and the
perambulation of the bounds of the parish takes
place. Huge garlands of flowers are carried on the
points of staves, and every available space on the
house walls is decorated with a profusion of blooms.
GOOD FRIDAY DOLES.
A PRACTICE obtains at Ideford, near Newton Abbot,
of picking up alms from the donor's tomb on Good
Friday on each succeeding year. The rector and
churchwardens stand at one end of the flat table-
shaped monument, and there place the coins upon
the surface, while the recipients of the charity come
one by one to the other end of the tombstone and
pick up the money. This custom has been uninter-
ruptedly in force for more than three hundred years.
OAKAPPLE Day, otherwise King Charles' Day, was
instituted to commemorate the escape of Charles II,
on May 2gth, 1657, from the hands of Cromwell after
the battle of Worcester, by concealing himself in a
tufted oak in the woods of Boscobel.
This day was, in the early part of the century,
observed at Tiverton, in a rough and boisterous
fashion. Doubtless Tiverton was not the only town
at which the holiday was kept, but certainly no place
could exceed it in mad revelry or wild enthusiasm.
Directly the day began the bells of St. Peter's Church
94 |2ummit# anti Crummit&
clanged out furiously, awakening the inhabitants and
warning the young folk that it was time to bestir
themselves. Quickly donning their oldest garments
the men turned out and started to collect faggots
of greenery from every avaliable hedge and wood.
The fronts of public buildings, shops and dwelling
houses were profusely decorated with branches of
oak, from which depended scores of oakapples pre-
viously gilded or covered with silver paper. Every
man wore oak sprigs and a small oakapple in his
button-hole and his hat was encircled with a wreath
of oak leaves. Woe betide him who neglected to
adorn his house or his person.
Charles and Cromwell were both befittingly rep-
The Royalist party was distinguished by its proud
bearing and smart attire, while the roundhead party
was expected to look the reverse of gentlemen.
Charles, enthroned in a gaily-decorated chair was
borne on the shoulders of four stalwart men through
the principal streets, and great homage and profound
respect were paid to him.
On the reverse, Cromwell was represented by the
coarsest and most repulsive-looking scoundrel the
town could produce. He was naked to the waist, and
gloried in a long shaggy tail made of a hempen rope
much frayed at the end. With this he belaboured
any mischievous urchin who dared to interfere with
his progress. Around his waist was tied a huge bag
filled with soot. Himself and attendants were thick-
ly daubed with oiled lamp-black and other disgusting
compositions. At noon, when Charles had trium-
phantly made his procession through the town, the
mischief began. Cromwell so managed his affairs
that the two parties met each other at the bottom of
Bampton Street, just opposite the entrance to the
" Three Tuns Hotel." Now the gambols began,
Cromwell plentifully besmeared all on whom he and
his followers could lay hands, and carried them off to
imprisonment till later on. Of course, in the general
scrimmage that ensued, prisoners were captured on
both sides, to be ransomed by their own friends
at five o'clock, when the street entertainments ended
and wilder orgies at the public houses began. The
money collected was spent in mad carousals and
jollifications. No women could venture into the
streets ; if there were any brave enough to do so, it
was at the peril of their lives. Next day many a
head ached, and vows were registered that " Never
no more wid any body git up tii theyse zoart o' May
This barbarous pastime has now entirely died out,
and is only held in remembrance by Blundell's
scholars, who, in hopes of getting a half-holiday,
decorate the masters' desks and chairs with oak
boughs before morning school. Let us hope that the
headmaster does not turn a deaf ear to their silent
96 /pummte anti Crummit#.
A HARVEST CUSTOM.
A VERY old custom, that of crying the neck at the
end of corn harvest, still obtains in some parishes in
the west of England.
When the last sheaf of wheat is cut at the end of
August, the reapers take the very last handful of
straw and plait the ends together, tying them with
lengths of bright-coloured ribbons ; then, lifting it
high above their heads, wave their sickles frantically,
and shout :
We-ha-neck ! we-ha-neck !
Well aplowed ! well asowed !
We've areaped ! and we've amowed !
Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah !
Well-a-cut well abound !
Well-a-zot upon the ground !
We-ha-neck ! we-ha-neck '
Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah !
There are many variants of the cry, but the above
seems to be the one in general use. At Paignton, the
farmer's name is introduced, thus :
A-neck ! a-neck ! a-neck !
Whose neck ?
Varmer Ferris'es ! Varmer Ferris'es
Its all a-cut !
And all abound !
And all ataken from the ground,
Hip ! hip ! whorrah ! whorrah !
There are some slight differences in performing the
ceremony. I have seen this done in the neighbour-
hood of Newton Abbot, at a farm situated on the
western slope of Haldon. All the reapers (between
twenty and thirty) formed a semicircle, with the
farmer in their midst, and the ladies of the family
close at hand. The head man held the "neck"
above his head, and waved it quickly to and fro, and
gave the first shout of " a-neck ! a-neck ! "
The rest took up the cry and waved their sickles.
After this the cyder-firkin was passed round from
mouth to mouth. Then a start was made for the
farmer's kitchen, where a substantial supper of beef,
pork, vegetables, figgy-pudden, cream, junkets, and
gallons of cyder awaited the hungry reapers. When
justice had been done to the viands, tobacco and long
churchwardens (clay pipes) were produced. More
and much cyder at last provoked merriment and in-
describable tumult. Some recounted their exper-
iences in winter by flood, snowstorm, and hurricanes.
Others their interviews with the Dowl on lonely hills,
their wanderings over swampy meadows in the foot-
steps of Jack-o-lantern. Others their efforts to resist
the evil eye, and the malignant devices of the witch.
Some sung delightful old songs (specimens of which
will be found at the end of this book) ; and not until
the daylight streamed through the diamond-shaped
window-panes did they seek their beds. I should say
that the wives and elder children of the men were also
98 J12ummtt# anli Crummitg.
partakers of the harvest-supper. The neck is carried
into the house and hung over the centre of the kitchen
table for a year, and when replaced by the new neck
it is given to the best beast in the stall.
The word a-neck is said to be derived from the
Celtic language, and means " saved." Others claim
for it an Irish origin, as the word " anaie " in that
country means " save thou me." While another
suggestion is that the custom may have been derived
from the Jewish ceremonial of the wave offering men-
tioned in Leviticus xxiii, 10, and following verses,
and introduced by the early Hebrew settlers in
Britain. A long correspondence was carrried on in
August, 1898, in the Western Morning News, on this
ceremony, from which I glean that the practice is
identical in every part of the county, but there are
differences in the mode of its performance.
GIGLET MARKET OR FAIR.
AT many towns and villages in Devonshire, on the
the first Saturday after Christmas-day, and at Lady-
day, it was customary, up to a recent date, for
women and girls desirous of being hired as domestic
servants to repair to the " fair-field " of the district
and stand in rows on exhibition. Persons in need of
servants would then make a tour of inspection and
select such as appeared suitable to their requirements.
This custom prevailed until a few years ago, at
Holsworthy, Okehampton, and South Molton.
After the business of the day was over a revel or
pleasure fair was held, known as " The Giglet Fair "
and " Giglet Market."
At Okehampton Giglet Fair, bachelors were
allowed, without the ceremony of introduction, to
approach, make love, and propose to the " giglet " of
their choice. It frequently happened that the joy bells,
in a few weeks, announced the success of their venture.
THE DIVINING ROD.
THE Divining Rod is known also as the Dowsing
Rod, Moses's Rod, and the Virgula. It is simply a
twig of this form V, each limb being from ten inches
to twelve inches long, cut from a cherry tree, hazel,
or white thorn. The operators are named dowsers,
diviners, water-witches, or water-finders. Great in-
terest is attached to the rod, as used for the purpose
of discovering subterranean water-springs and lodes
of ore. Its mysterious properties have been exempli-
fied in numberless instances. The satisfactory finding
of water by its aid was recently shewn at Tiverton,
Plympton, Plymouth, Chumleigh, and many other
places, which caused much correspondence for and
against the " art " in the Western Morning News and
other west country newspapers. In Cornwall, too,
the dowser has pointed out spots where valuable
lodes of metals have been unearthed. One case in
particular may be quoted at Great Briggan, when
the late Captain Trelase was the diviner.
ioo jpummtttf anti Crttmmto,
The modus operandi is very simple, The water-
witch holds the thin arms of the twig between his
fingers and thumbs with the point projecting out-
wards, while he walks steadily over the suspected
spring or lode. If there be water or mineral below,
the hazel turns upwards with a sudden jerk, if there
is neither, it remains passive. It is said that the
operator experiences peculiar sensations in his limbs
as the twig vibrates, and that his face assumes an
agitated expression. All persons are not sympathetic
and the twig lies inert in their hands, but with a born
dowser the rod very soon puts on vitality, and fre-
quently completes a circle breaking short off at the
points. Hundreds of persons pooh-pooh the whole
thing and condemn it as a trick, and are surprised
that in these days of scientific attainments people
should be found weak enough to pin their faith to the
virtues of a twig. Despite opposition and ridicule
the search for water by this means is popular
throughout Devon and her sister-counties.
IN old fashioned markets it is customary to give luck-
money on an animal being sold by the farmer himself.
The practice is gradually dying out, as auctions are
taking the place of private contracts. In some places
a penny merely passes from the seller to the buyer, a
practice arising, probably, from some superstitious
Cugtomg. 1 01
belief. In some districts a shilling or half-a-crown is
given as luck-money. In others again, a man will
deal and give a certain sum for a cow or a horse with
the proviso that five or ten shillings shall be returned
for luck or chap money. The origin of this custom
is unknown. Sometimes, when engaging a servant, a
shilling is given to clench the bargain. This is called
PECULIAR WEDDING CUSTOM.
A PECULIAR wedding custom observed at Lynton,
North Devon, is that of chaining the bride at the
gates of the churchyard. Young men stretch pieces
of rope, adorned with flowers, or chains of twisted
hay and straw decorated with ribbons and flowers,
across the gateway, effectually preventing the exit of
the bridal party. Thereupon the bridegroom scatters
broadcast handfuls of small coins. The chain is
immediately dropped and a rush made for the money
leaving the bride free to proceed on her way. Some-
times, where special honour is paid to the bride,
several chains are encountered on her way to her old
home, and the bridegroom has again and again to pay
his footing as a husband.
THE daisy is popularly looked upon as the emblem of
modesty. In the days of chivalry in Europe the
102 jpummitg ann Crummitjef.
daisy played an interesting part in many a love affair.
When a knight was an accepted lover, his lady
allowed him to engrave a daisy on his arms ; when
he proposed and she would neither say " Yes " or
"No," she wore a crown of field daisies, which meant
" I'll think about it." Readers of Faust will re-
member how Margaret, as she walked in the garden,
plucked off the petals of an aster, one after another,
saying, half aloud " He loves me, he loves me not
he loves me not he loves me not he loves me ! "
This old-world custom is still in vogue among the
lasses of sunny Devon.
Weather Lore and Wise Saws.
Weather Lore and Wise Saws.
THE ancients observed with profound attention the
natural phenomena of their time, the study of which
helped them to make fairly accurate forecasts of the
weather, and taught them to begin farm work and
domestic affairs at the most favourable moment.
They walked as it were hand in hand with nature,
learning to interpret her subtle operations by mar-
The flight of birds, the voices and actions of ani-
mals, the development of vegetation, all lent their
aid to predict atmospheric changes.
Then the following traditions and proverbs were
popular, and have been handed down from the earliest
If Christmas Day on Monday be,
A great winter that year you'll see.
And full of winds both loud and shrill ;
But in summer, truth to tell,
High winds there shall be, and strong,
Full of tempests lasting long ;
While battles they shall multiply,
And great plenty of beasts shall die.
io6 ^ummte anli Crummte*
They that be born that day, I ween,
They shall be strong each one, and keen
He shall be found that stealeth aught ;
Though thou be sick, thou diest not.
If New Year's Day happen on a Saturday the win-
ter will be mean, the summer hot, the harvest late,
garden-stuff good and cheap, honey, flax, and hemp
If the weather be dry and bright on January 26th,
the year will be generally of the same type. St. Paul
is the guardian saint of this day.
If the day of St. Paul be clear,
Then shall betide a happy year,
If it do chance to snow or rain,
Then shall be dear all kinds of grain,
But if the wind then be aloft,
Wars shall vex this realm full oft,
And if the clouds make dark the sky,
Both beasts and fowl this year shall die.
When midges in January play and fly,
Treasure your fodder for beasts in July.
A January spring is nothing worth.
January freezes the pot upon the fire.
If the grass grow in January, it grows the worse
for it all the year. Lock your grain in the granary.
As the days lengthen so does the cold strengthen.
If the weather on Candlemas Day, February 2nd,
flflleatijer ot* anti ftflltee fe>atog, 107
be bright and dry, there will be a long continuance of
cold wintry weather.
If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half of the winter is to come, and mair,
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half of the winter is gone at yule.
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another fight,
But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
If a storm comes on February 2nd, spring is near ;
but if that day be bright and clear, the spring will be
When drops hang on the fence on February 2nd,
icicles shall hang there on March i4th.
There is always one fine week in February.
When it rains in February it will be temperate all
All the months in the year curse a fine Februeer.
If in February there be no rain,
The hay won't goody, nor the grain.
All other months of the year
Most heartily curse a fine Februeer.
February fill dyke, be it black or be it white ; but
if it be white, the better to like.
io8 /]2ummit0 auto Crummitg.
If bees get out in February the next day will be
rough and rainy.
When the cat in February lies in the sun, she will
creep under the grate in March.
Remove all Christmas decorations before Candle-
Down with the rosemary and the bays,
And down with the mistletoe,
Instead of the holly now upraise
The bright green box for show.
If so the superstitious find,
One tiny branch just left behind,
Look ! for every leaf there may be,
So many goblins shall plague thee.
If the eighteen last days of February be wet, and
the first days of March, you'll see that the spring
quarter, and the summer too, will prove to be wet, and
danger will ensue.
February and be ye fair,
The hoggs will mend, and nothing pair ;
February and be ye foul,
The hoggs will die in the pool (Scotch).
If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a
lamb, and vice versa.
March winds and April showers,
Bring forth May flowers.
Dust in March brings leaves and grass.
fl&leatljer Elore anto Wii&z s5>ato#. 109
A peck of March dust is worth a king's ransom.
As many mists in March so many frosts in May.
On the first of March
The crows begin to search.
The black army (fleas) arrives on March ist.
Much March dust, and a shower in May,
Makes the corn green and the fields gay.
A damp warm March will bring much harm to the
Snow in March is bad for fruit and grape wine.
If it does not freeze on the loth of March, a fertile
year may be expected.
When flies swarm in March, sheep come by their
March dust and March wind, bleach as well as
March flowers make no Summer bowers.
March borrows three days of April,
The first brings sleet,
The second brings snow, and
The third is the worst day that ever blew.
In a very old magazine I found the following, which
leads one to suppose that the cuckoo arrives in
In March the giikii begin'th to sarch.
In Aperal he begin'th to tell,
In May he begin'th to lay,
In July away he do fly.
i io ummtt# anli Ctummte.
A dry April is not the farmer's will.
In April wet is what the farmer would get.
Till April is dead, change not a thread.
What March does not want April brings along.
When April blows his horn,
"Tis good for hay and corn.
On the first of April crows are still sitting.
April floods carry off frogs and their broods.
The cuckoo comes in April.
When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn,
Sell your cow and buy you corn ;
But when he comes to the full bit,
Sell your corn and buy you sheep.
If it thunders on All Fools' Day,
There will be good crops of corn and hay.
Fogs in April foretell a failure of the wheat crop
for next year.
One should look for grass in April on the top of an
oak, because grass seldom springs well before the oak
puts forth its leaves.
Fine warm weather from Easter to Whitsuntide
produces much grass and cheap butter.
As the weather is on Ascension Day, so will it be
the entire autumn.
If it rains on Good Friday and Easter Day,
There'll be plenty of grass and a little good hay.
April and May between them make bread for all
Eore anto Wii&t &ato0. 1 1 1
April rains for men : May for beasts.
Button to the chin till May be in.
Marry in May you'll rue it for aye.
No wind is colder than a May wind.
For a warm, wet May
The parsons do pray,
For then death-fees
Come their way.
A May wet
Was never kind yet.
A cold May is kindly
And fills the barn finely.
A cold May is good for corn and hay.
For an East wind in May it is your duty to pray.
A snowstorm in May,
Brings weight to the hay.
The more thunder in May the less there will be in
August and September.
By the first of May young crows will have flown
May, come she early, come she late,
Still she'll make the cow to quake.
A May flood never did good.
Shear sheep in May you'll shear them all away.
He who bathes in May, will soon be laid in clay.
A swarm of bees in May is worth a stack of hay.
In May the cuckoo sings all day.
Change not a clout till May be out.
Who doffs his coat on a Winter's day, will gladly
put it on in May.
A dry May and a rainy June,
Puts the farmer's pipe in tune.
A misty May and a hot June,
Makes the harvest come right soon.
A dripping June brings all things in tune.
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
Before St. John's day we pray for rain, after that
we get it anyhow.
The change which takes place in the voice of the
cuckoo is thus quaintly described by a sixteenth
In April the coo-coo can sing her song by rote,
In June oft time she cannot sing a note ;
At first koo-koo ! koo-koo ! sings till she can do,
At last kooke-kooke-kooke ; six kookes to one koo.
If July ist be wet and rainy, it will continue so for
four weeks or more.
He, who in July the cuckoo's voice doth hear,
Will die before he comes next year.
A swarm of bees in July is not worth a fly.
If it rain on July loth it will rain for seven
Ne'er trust a July sky.
flflleat&er Jiwz anti Wii&z >ato0. 1 1 3
All the tears St. Swithen can cry (July 15),
St. Bartlemy's mantle can dry (August i4th).
St. Swithen's day if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain na mair,
St. Swithen's day if thou be'st fine,
For forty days it will remain.
St. James' day gives oysters,
St. Swithen's day gives rain.
He who eats oysters on St. James' day will lack
money to the year's end.
A shower of rain in July, when the corn begins to
kern, is worth a plough of oxen, and all belonging
Very hot July, August, and September, breed hard
frosts and intense cold for the next January.
If the deer rise up dry and lie down dry on
St. Bullion's day (July 4th), it is a sign there will be
a good goose harvest.
Dog days bright and clear,
Portend a happy year ;
But if accompanied with rain,
For better times all hopes are vain.
A heavy rainfall in the middle of July shows that
St. Mary Magdalene is washing her handkerchief to
go to her cousin St. James' fair.
St. Bartholomew brings the cold dew (August 24th).
Dry your barley in October
Or you'll always be sober.
ii4 jpummitg auto Crummit&
Warm October, cold February.
The 28th of October was anciently accounted as
certain to be rainy.
Will fuddle you.
There are always nineteen dry days in October.
If October bring heavy frosts and winds, then will
January and February be mild.
For every fog in October a snow in the winter,
heavy or light according as fog is heavy or light.
As the weather is in October, so will it be in the
Full moon in October without frost, no frost till full
moon in November.
If the first snow fall on moist, soft earth, it indi-
cates a small harvest ; but if upon hard, frozen soil
a good harvest the following year.
When it freezes and snows in October, January
will bring mild weather ; but if it is thundery, and
heat-lightning prevail, the weather will resemble
April in temper.
October should be a fill-dyke.
Crows groping greedily come back again,
With October's wind and rain.
In December keep yourself warm, and sleep.
The worse weather for the rider, is the better for
Eore auto flflligfe femtog. 1 1 5
If it rain on a Sunday before the mass, it will rain
all the week more or less.
Mackerel skies and colts' tails
Make big ships carry little sails.
Many a cloudy morning
Brings forth a sunny noon.
Leap year never brings a good sheep year.
Hail brings frost on its tail.
When beans are in bloom brew not your ale.
When elder is white, brew and bake a peck. When
elder is black, brew and bake a sack.
When the sloe-tree is white as a sheet, sow your
barley whether it be dry or wet.
Ash before oak, there will be a soak,
Oak before ash, there will be but a splash.
No one so surely pays his debt
As wet to dry, and dry to wet.
A Saturday's new moon once in seven years is once
If the moon on a Saturday be new or full,
There always was rain and always will.
When the new moon is on her back, or shows her
horns, it is a true sign of rough, boisterous weather,
accompanied with heavy rain.
Winter's thunder and summer's flood,
Bodes to old England nothing good.
n6 jpummitg auto Crummte.
East wind and west the sign of blast,
North and south the sign of drouth.
He who by the plough would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive.
When the wind is in the east,
It's neither good for man nor beast.
When the dim form of the full moon can be seen in
the lap of the new moon, it is considered by some to
be a sign of rain. By sailors and fishermen it is sup-
posed to presage tempestuous weather.
I saw the new moon late yestreen,
With the old moon in her lap :
And if we gang to sea master,
I fear some dread mishap.
When the wind is in the north, hail comes forth,
When the wind is in the west, look for a wet blast ;
When the wind is in the south, the weather will be
fresh and good,
When the wind is in the east, cold and snow comes
Who ploughs deep while sluggards sleep,
Will have corn to sell and to keep.
'Twixt twelve and two,
Will shew what the day will do.
Every wind hath its weather.
anti Wii&t feato& 117
Autumn is wheezy, sneezy, freezy ;
Winter is slippy, drippy, nippy ;
Spring is showery, flowery, bowery ;
Summer is hoppy, croppy, poppy.
North wind brings hail,
South wind brings rain,
East winds we bewail.
West winds blow amain,
North-east wind is too cold,
South-east wind not too warm,
North-west wind is far too bold,
South-west wind doth no harm.
When the wind is in the east,
The fisherman likes it the least ;
When the wind is in the west,
The fisherman likes it the best.
No weather is ill, if the wind be still.
A west wind north about,
Never long holds out.
When the wind is in the west,
Then the weather's always best.
A western wind carries water in its hand.
A northern air brings weather fair.
W r hen the wind is in the south,
'Tis in the rain's mouth.
The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes
And, by his hollow whistling in the leaves
Foretells a tempest, and a blustering day.
SIGNS OF RAIN AS PREDICTED BY THE HABITS OF
BIRDS AND ANIMALS.
IF a heron or bittern flies low, the air is becoming
charged with water vapour.
When kine view the sky, stretching up their heads
and snuffing the air, moist vapours are engendering,
the cause of their doing so being their sensibility
of the air's sudden alteration from dry to wet ; and
sudden rain will ensue, though at that time the sun
may be shining brightly.
The chattering of swallows and their flying low
about lakes and ponds denote rain.
The much croaking of frogs in the ditches and
pools, &c., in the evening, foretells rain in a short
time to follow.
The sweating of stone pillars denotes rain.
Ants moving their eggs denotes rain, for by a secret
instinct of nature finding the air changing into much
moisture, they carry them to a place of drier security.
Crows flocking in large flights, holding their heads
upwards as they fly, and cawing louder than usual, is
a sign of rain, as is also their stalking by ponds and
rivers and sprinkling themselves.
Sore ann oaitee featog. 1 19
The frequent dropping and diving of waterfowl fore-
shows that rain is at hand.
Peacocks crying much denotes rain.
Cattle leaving off to feed and hastening to shelter
under hedges, bushes, trees, outhouses, &c., shows
sudden showers are coming.
Expect rain if the stalks of clover stand upright ;
if the flower of the convolvulus closes ; if the flowers
of the sorrel and of the African marigold close ; if
the flower of the pitcher-plant turns upside down ; if
the flower of the cinquefoil expands.
Fine weather is preceded by the opening of the
flowers of the sorrel or the closing of the cinquefoil,
and the standing erect of the flower of the pitcher-
A foot deep of rain
Will kill hay again ;
But three feet of snow
Will make it come mo'.
When hemp is ripe and ready to pull,
Then Englishman, beware of thy skull.
The kingfisher builds its nest in holes in the banks
of a river. Should it become dislodged and float
down the river and out on the surface of the sea with-
out capsizing, then there will be a long spell of fine
In some parts of the country this bird is used as a
vane, not exposed to the action of the wind, but
120 ^ttmmto anli Crummit^
stuffed and suspended in a room by a thin string, its
bill always indicating the point from which the wind
Into what corner peers the halcyon bill ?
Ha ! to the east yes see how stands the wind.
"The antients supposed that it built its nest on the
ocean, and hatched its young at the winter solstice.
To account for the preservation of the nest and
young birds amidst the severity of the season, they
imagined that the bird had a power of lulling the
raging of the waves during the period of incubation ;
and this power was believed to reside in its song," so
says the author of Chambers's Information for the
People, vol. ii, page 447.
A gentleman who once visited the west country
thinks the following fairly represents the chronic con-
ditions of Devonshire weather :
One unlucky Friday, with sorrow and pain
I proceed to record it, it came on to rain,
It rained on the Saturday, rained on the Sunday,
It rained every hour of the day on the Monday.
On Tuesday it rained cats and dogs as they say,
And Wednesday was also a very wet day,
On Thursday and Friday, especially the latter day,
It rained very hard, but my gracious on Saturday
The rain was most dreadful, a great deal more bad
Than that of any other day we had had.
Anti-Pluvius, Western Morning News,
Feb. lyth, 1899.
Eore auto (Lfllte* featogf. 121
TRUE SIGNS OF RAIN.
The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low,
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
The spiders from their cobwebs creep.
Last night the sun went pale to bed,
The moon in halos hid her head ;
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh,
For see a rainbow spans the sky.
The walls are damp, the ditches smell,
Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel ;
Hark ! how the chairs and tables crack,
Old Betty's joints are on the rack.
Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry, .
The distant hills are seeming nigh ;
How restless are the snorting swine,
The busy flies disturb the kine.
Low o'er the grass the swallow wings,
The cricket too, how loud it sings ;
Puss on the hearth with velvet paws,
Sits smoothing o'er her whiskered jaws.
Through the clear stream the fishes rise,
And nimbly catch the incautious flies ;
The sheep are seen at early light,
Cropping the meads with eager bite.
Though June, the air is cold and chill,
The mellow blackbird's voice is still ;
The glow-worms, numerous and bright,
Illumed the dewy dell last night.
122 jummtt0 anto Crummta.
At dusk the squalid toad was seen,
Hopping and crawling o'er the green ;
The frog has lost his yellow vest,
And in a dingy suit is dressed.
The leech disturbed is newly risen,
Quite to the summit of his prison ;
The whirling winds the dust obeys,
And in the rapid eddies plays.
My dog, so altered is his taste,
Quits mutton bones, on grass to feast ;
And see yon rooks, how odd their flight,
They imitate the gliding kite,
Or seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
'Twill surely rain ! I see with sorrow,
Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.
From an Almanac published 1844.
Nummits and Crummits.
Nummits and Crummits.
GOOD OLD DAYS AT STOCKLEIGH
POMEROY IN 1815.
A wee-bit and breakfast,
A stay-bit and dinner,
A nummit and a crummit,
And a bit arter supper.
Could our forbears ever have known the joys of
MEAL HOURS A.D. 1515.
To rise at five and dine at nine,
To sup at five and bed at nine,
Will make a man live to ninety-nine.
Our meal- hours and time of rising in the morning
have considerably changed in the course of three
centuries. As our ancestors rose at five they needed
the " wee-bit " especially in the winter season.
Persons of quality would sometimes dine as late as
ten and supper was at five or six in the evening, and
all the family were in bed at nine. They sounded the
curfew, which warned them to put out their fires
at six in the winter and between eight and nine in the
evening during the summer time.
126 jummit# auto Crummto.
SERVANTS, when desirous of hoodwinking their mis-
tresses or each other, resorted to a curious method of
They added " us," or " vus " to every word. This
jargon was styled cat-latin ; as
" When vus thevus catvus isvus outvus, thevus,
micevus allvus play vus."
The above will give the reader some idea of this
ridiculous custom. I am told that it has not quite
died out in the far west even up to this date (1898).
WHEN a child gets tired or a little out of temper, and
the nurse wishes to amuse it, she dandles it on her
knee, and sings
Vather and mawther
And uncle Jan,
Went to Market
Pin tap a black ram,
Off val'd vather,
Off val'd mawther,
And away raw'd
Uncle Jan ! !
All up ! all up ! all up !
Eat the fat ram
And hang Uncle Jan !
All up ! all up ! all up !
Huraw for Uncle Jan !
auto Crummit& 127
A COOMBMARTIN " CRY."
ONE day as a tourist was walking through this village
he heard a man make the following announcement
Thes es tii gie notice that down by tha say (sea)
liveth a old dummun that zills glide zoura (vinegar)
dree appince a nuggin, what Ciime* vokes liketh tii
lappee kale wi'.
SIGN IN A WINDOW BY THE W AY-SIDE
If this should catch the eye
Of any passer-by,
Who should happen to be dry,
I hope he'll not be shy,
But just step in
And wet his throttle,
With prime ginger beer
A penny a bottle.
A SIGN AT ANSTEY'S COVE, TORQUAY.
Picnics supplied with hot water and tea,
At a nice little house down by the sea.
Fresh crabs and lobsters every day,
Salmon peel, sometimes red mullet and grey ;
The neatest of pleasure-boats let out on hire,
Fishing as good as you can desire.
* Coomb folks like to eat with cabbage. " Kale " is the local
name for cabbage.
128 ^lummitg auto Crummitg.
Bathing machines for ladies are kept,
With towels and gowns all quite correct.
Thomas is the man who supplies everything,
And also teaches young people to swim.
SALE OF EFFECTS AND A WIFE !
RECEIVED of Edward Salter the sum of four pounds
ten shillings for goods received and chattels, a bay
mare, and also Mrs. Smale, as parting man and wife.
Agreed before witnesses,
October lyth, 1810.
Witness the mark of
Edward Snow X
James Worth X
Mary Salter X
Edward Salter X
Settled the whole concern by the mark of
John Smale X
^"4 los. od.
ON Thursday, May i5th, 1811, the buyer made appli-
cation to the Plymouth magistrates, stating the
circumstances of the case, and that John Smale
wanted his wife back again, notwithstanding that he
the said buyer liked her very much, and did not wish
to part with her.
The magistrates told him he had no legal claim to
jummit# ana Crummitg. 129
the woman, and advised him to give her up to her
husband, to which he very reluctantly consented.
In these good old times when a man grew tired of
his wife, it was not an unfrequent practice to put a
halter round her neck and offer her in the nearest
market place for sale, she tamely submitting to the
indignity. Possibly she was glad to obtain release
from an unamiable spouse by such easy means.
The reader will smile, and say : " Ah ! perhaps so,"
but such things do not happen in this more enlight-
ened age. It seems that history repeats itself, as
evidenced by the following story taken from the
Western Morning News, March gth, 1894.
ANOTHER CASE OF WIFE SALE.
As recently as September, 1873, tne following at-
tempted sale of a woman took place in Devonshire.
At - - a young woman, the wife of a man named
Phillips, who was said to have left her and his credi-
tors together, and gone to Australia, was the interest-
ing article submitted at the sale of his goods and
chattels to competition. The wife's conduct seems to
have had a great deal to do with Phillips's dis-
appearance. On Saturday, Phillips's goods were
sold, and the wife claimed a portion of the pro-
ceeds, and told the auctioneer he must either share
the money with her or sell her. This seems to have
called forth the sympathy of a bystander who volun-
teered to take the role of auctioneer. A halter was
borrowed from a neighbour, and the woman was led
into the market-place accompanied by a crowd of
persons. No bidders, however, seemed to be amongst
them, and the woman was obliged to be content.
This disgraceful scene was witnessed by a very large
number of spectators.
COPY OF A LETTER
Sent to Mr. Martin, the energetic secretary of the
Devonian Club in London.
Taddiport, Nath Debben,
Febreer 28th, 1889.
Zir Stafford and genelmen all,
I pull'th my vorlock tii e ivvery wan ! I did 'ope
I shiide abin able tii bin long w'e tii dinner tii-day.
I'm blamed ef I bant that vext I can't tell what tii dii
wi' m'zell, tii thenk that that canky-tempered old
twoad ov a wive ov mine want let me come tii
Linnun and a' a bit and a drap wi' yii chaps tii-day.
Niver mind sose ! durned ef I want be upzides wi'
she avore long. 'Er'll be wanting a fine new rory-
tory gown avore the year be out, but by Gor ! 'er
shall want. I'll be dalled ef 'er shall get wan though
I've agot the dibs sure 'nough, but I'll stick tii they.
Zee ef I dawnt.
I wuz 'opping tii 'ave some figgetty pudden and
lots more o' that zoart ov trade, a purty gude bust
aw't altogether, but there tidden wan bit ov use tii
jl2ummit# auto Crummit#. 131
grizzlee ort more awver't, so I want say 'nuther word
'bout et thease time.
I ciide a-told-e a glide many zide cracking stories
about wan and tother old Debbenshur vokes down
theyse pearts ov the country, but if yii staps to rayde
thease letter drii and drii 'evore yii begin'th tii ayte,
yer mayte'll be cold, and yii'll be famished tii death,
zo yii'd better putt'n aside till yii've a mapped up all
they biitivul junkets I yer Mrs. Martin 'ave amade
I mind'th piirty well Squire Nathkit's gramfer what
used tii live tii Pynes, he waz Cappen ov the Yawmen
Cathery. They varmer's zins what weared urd
jackets and vound their awn 'osses. Well, when
theyse sodgers was out tii practice down tii Exmouth,
zome o'the stiipid twoads got tarnashun wopper-eyed
and by gor ! ef they didden vail tii fighting. Jist then
Cappen Nathkit corned along, and zaid, ses 'e
" What be yii fellers adiiing ov ? Vighting be 'e ?
Aw zes 'e, I'll tellee 'bout that then liikee zee yer
yii baggering twoads, I'll be blamed if I'll 'ave any
fighting men in my regiment git out o't, I tellee."
That there's so true as the gospel, I tellee tez
Well, now yers another little dialogue. There was
wan Varmer Short who'd got a purty big varm down
'Aldon way. Now 'e and a few more was what I
calls rigler guzzlers they was. I've yerd tell as 'ow
vower aw'm cude drink out a hogshead of cider tii
132 jpummto anli Ctummit&
wan zitting and not veel no woss vor't arterwards.
They was what vokes now-a-days cal proper busters
Then again there's thicky young ozeburd ov a
squire up Topsham way, who stid'th hard how he
can candiddle his ma, by gwaine ratting wi' all the
griims and ramscallions of the parish, instayed of
gwaine 'ome tii dinner and zitting up tii table clayne
and tidy-like wi' the quality. Mayhap I'd better not
zay nort more about he, cuz tidden vitty for the likes
o' me tii zay ort agin my betters.
Burn me ! if I ciidden tellee amazing sight ov't, all
about the murchy of wan and tother o'm, but I mid
hurt their veelings, zo I'll stap !
I be veeling cruel wisht, and zomething like a
vinnied cheel, cuz I be afoced tii bide home while yii
fellers be up there feysting away like cockfighters.
Howzimever I 'opes yii'll val tii galyantly and 'ave a
giide feed, but dawntee vor gracious sakes ayte too
much of that payse zoup and tabbioka pudden, vur
that trade'll upzit 'e. If they gives 'e flicker-mayte
and squab pie yii'll like they, vor they'm biitival
aytmg. Now they waiter-chaps be cute uns, they'll
gie e giizeberry wine and tellee tez Madam Quicko's
best shampain. Dawntee, now dawntee, drink too
much o't, vor if so be yii dii 'tweel make 'e tosti-
cated, and yii'll be so maze headed as a sheep, and
bezides yii'll vail all about the rawds gwaine 'ome
along, and spowl all they fine cloths. They'll be
auto Crummto. 133
cautched all awver, and all the brishing in the wordle
wunt git the muck and pillum out o'um.
So no more at prisint from your
STONES FOR THE MONTHS.
IN love's calendar there is a special gem or stone for
each month in the year : and what true lover should
be without this necessary information ?
January is represented by the garnet constancy.
February ,, amethyst sincerity.
March ,, ,, bloodstone courage.
April diamond innocense.
May ,, ,, emerald success in love.
June ,, ,, agate long life.
July ,, chameleon contented mind.
August ,, sardonyx married happiness.
September ,, chrysolite clearness of intellect.
October ,, opal fortunate.
November ,, topaz fidelity.
December ,, ,, turquoise prosperity.
ORIGINAL VERSE BY A PARISH CLERK,
LET us zing to the praise and glawry of God this
ves o' my awn composing :
134 jRummit# auto
Mount Edgecombe is a pleasant place,
Right o'er agenst the Ham-o-aze,
Where ships do lie at anchor,
To guard us agin our foes. Amen.
At the beginning of the present century the small
boys of Chagford made the streets resound with
shouts of this quaint old rhyme :
Old Harry Trewin
Had no burtches to wear,
So he stawl a ram's skin
Vur to make en a pair :
Wi' the woolly zide out,
And the fleshy zide in,
They sticked purty tight
To old Harry Trewin.
Peculiar and Eccentric Devonians
Peculiar and Eccentric Devonians.
CARABOO OR PRINCESS JAVASU.
THIS clever unscrupulous woman was born of poor
but respectable parents at Witheridge, North Devon,
on November nth, 1792. Her father, Thomas
Wllcocks, was a shoemaker. His daughter Mary,
being of a wild disposition, objected to the restrictions
of school life, hence she received little or no educa-
tion, and at eight years of age was employed in spin-
ning wool. The manufacture of woollen yarns was
at this time the staple industry of the district. Ath-
letics had a strong attraction for Mary, who, before
she was eighteen years of age, excelled all the village
youths in cricket, playing at bowls, swimming, and
fishing. As a domestic servant she was invaluable,
and this must be said to her credit, that whatever she
undertook she did well and intelligently, giving undi-
vided attention to the minutest details. From her
sixteenth to twenty-second year she lived in service
at Witheridge, Exeter, Taunton, and in the neigh-
bourhood of London. Fond of finery she applied all
138 jl^ummto anti Crummte.
her wages to the purchase of smart attire, and when
on a visit to her parents she made great display of it,
to the disgust of her father who said, "'twadden vitty
vor the likes o' she to be fettled up in such fal-lals
and fantisheeny clothes." When he insisted that a
certain smart white frock should be taken off, Mary
refused to obey him, whereupon a quarrel arose
which ended in her father taking the matter up in a
furious temper, and beating her severely with a
leathern strap. After this she decamped and was
never seen again at Witheridge. While living with
Mrs. Hillier, a fishmonger at Billingsgate, she met a
man called Bakerstendt or Bickerstein, whom she is
supposed to have married after only two months'
Whether she was married to this foreigner, or
whether he seduced and afterwards deserted her, has
not been clearly ascertained. There is little doubt,
but that it was from him, who had probably associa-
ted with Malays or was acquainted with their lan-
guage, that she picked up the Eastern words and
idioms she used, as well as that knowledge of some
Asiatic customs which so effectually enabled her to
effect her imposition.
A year after her marriage (?) we find her living at
Bristol with Eleanor Josephs. At first she did not
pretend to be a foreigner, until one day she dressed
herself in a turban, and went into the streets shouting
at the top of her voice an unknown lingo. This was
3&*cuiiar auto (Eccentric SDetJoniam?* 139
her first attempt to palm herself off as a stranger in a
On Thursday evening, the 3rd of April, 1817, the
overseer of the parish of Almondsbury, near Bristol,
called at the residence of Mr. Samuel Warrall, a
magistrate, to inform him that a young woman,
speaking a foreign language, had entered a cottage in
the village, and made signs that she wished to sleep
under its roof. A manservant in the house knew
several languages, therefore the woman was brought
before him, but appeared not to understand a word he
said. Her dress consisted of a black stuff gown, with
a white muslin frill around the neck, a black cotton
shawl fantastically arranged about her head, and a
red checked shawl loosely and tastefully put on her
shoulders in imitation of Asiatic costume.
The general impression from her manners and per-
son was attractive and prepossessing. In height
about 5ft. 2in., she had a small head, low forehead,
black hair and eyes, short nose, pink cheeks, wide
mouth, white gleaming teeth, lips large and full, a
small round chin, and an olive complexion. Her
hands were well formed, and so white that one would
suppose they were unaccustomed to labour. Age
about twenty-five years.
When offered food she covered her face with her
hands, and appeared to repeat a prayer, bowing her
head at the conclusion.
Mrs. Warrall took compassion on her loneliness
HO j^ummte ana Crummit#.
and received her into her house as a guest. Upon
being shewn books of travel, she intimated that the
one descriptive of China was the country from which
she came. Mrs. VVarrall began to have suspicions
that the woman was an impostor, and talked very
seriously to her, begging her to speak the truth of
herself. She pretended not to understand a word,
and addressed Mrs. Warrall in her own tongue.
Mrs. Warrall wrote her name upon paper, pronounc-
ing it several times as she placed it before her, hoping
that the woman would reveal her own, which she did
by crying out " Caraboo ! Caraboo ! " pointing to her-
Upon some furniture being shewn to her, inlaid
with Chinese figures, Caraboo made signs that they
belonged to her country. She then drew the follow-
ing chart of her voyage to Europe :
peculiar and (Eccentric 2Debonian#. 141
Her father's country was Congee (China), her
mother's was Batavia, her own, Javasu, of which she
was the princess. Hereafter she was known as
Caraboo, or the Princess Javasu. For several months
she lived this picturesque lie. One gentleman who
had made several voyages to the East Indies took
great interest in her, and in the warmth of his anxiety
to discover her history probably assisted her to
emphasise more distinctly the imposture on the good
people of Bristol and Bath.
She marked time by tying knots on a string in a
peculiar manner, and by this means pointed out the
periods and distances of her voyage. She said that
in Congee they wrote with a camel's hair brush or
pencil and Indian ink. Here are a few of the signs
she employed, which are simply Arabic characters
which she might have found among Beckerstein's
142 ^lummit# auto Crummto.
The gibberish language in which she made herself
understood, was aided by gestures and animation of
countenance which it is impossible to describe. It is
singular that during her residence at Knowle, Bath,
and Bristol she was never heard to pronounce a word
of English. She had an astonishing command of
countenance and complete self-possession. A gentle-
man tried to move her by flattery : he drew his chair
close to hers, looked steadily and smilingly in her
face, and said : " You are the most beautiful creature
I ever beheld. You are an angel." Not a muscle of
her face moved, no blush suffused her cheek, and her
countenance was a blank.
The bubble, however, was on the eve of bursting.
Dr. Wilkinson, of Bath, determined to probe the
mystery, and after making exhaustive enquiries about
her, of persons with whom she was known to have
lodged previous to her arrival at Almondsbury, dis-
covered that she was none other than the veritable
daughter of Thomas Wilcocks, the Witheridge shoe-
After this, the exposure of the deception practised
on Mrs. Warrall was speedy and decisive. Mrs.
Warrall went alone into a room with Caraboo, and
told her of the damning proofs she had obtained of
her being an impostor. She again tried in her gib-
berish to interest her benevolent friend by saying,
" Caraboo, Toddy Noddy," etc., but could not succeed.
Hereupon she acknowledged the cheat and begged
peculiar anti (Eccentric 2Diionian0. 143
that her parents should not be sent for. This was
promised on condition that she would make a clean
breast of the whole imposture and give details of her
former life, to which she readily acceded.
A passage in the " Robert and Ann," under the
care of Captain Robertson, was at once procured for
her, and taking the name of Mrs. Mary Burgess, she
sailed for, and lived many years at, Philadelphia.
The day before leaving Bristol she wrote the fol-
lowing letter to Mrs. Warrall, which shewed that
Caraboo was not insensible of the great kindness and
attention to her comfort and happiness which Mrs.
Warrall unweariedly gave her.
This is a verbatim copy :
" HON. MADAM,
Friendship thou charmer of the mind thou
sweet deluding ill the brightest moments mortals find
and sharpest pains can feel fate has divided all our
shares of pleasure and of pain in love the friendship
and the cares are mixed and join again the same in-
genious author in another place says tis dangerous to
let loose our love between the eternal fair for pride
that busy sin spoils all that we perform.
After several years residence in America she re-
turned to England, and settled at Bristol, about the
year 1849, where she and her daughter earned a pre-
carious living by selling and applying leeches, still
jl*lummit# anli Crummitg.
retaining the assumed name of Mary Burgess, alias
Baker. She died at Bristol in 1864.
A vocabulary of a few words with their meanings
made use of by Caraboo :
Come to breakfast
Come to dinner
Come to supper
peculiar anti (Eccentric 2D&0nian& 145
ODE TO MOLLY BAKER alias PRINCESS
THE two following Jeu d'esprits appeared during the
period when this imposture formed the topic of
general conversation at Bath and Bristol.
Oh Molly, what a wag thou art
So effectually to play the part
Of wandering, friendless Caraboo,
Bespeaks a talent few could boast
Even from juggling India's coast
But prythee tell me can it all be true ?
If thou when heathen Greek inditing,
Didst rival Rapier in his writing
(So versatile thy nature,
And sweetly plastic every limb)
Like Roland fence, like Dolphin swim,
Thou art indeed an interesting creature.
Wert thou with all the men so shy,
As ev'n thy beauteous hand deny
In common salutation ?
Was there no tender tete-a-tete,
Thy admirers thus to fascinate,
Who puffed thy beauty through the nation ?
146 jl2ummit0 ant* Crummte.
Thy sloe-black eyes, and teeth so white,
(By Nature formed to charm or bite ?)
With lady-airs in plenty
Like opiates all the senses lull'd,
Of reason and of vision gulled,
Th' all -knowing Cognoscenti.
When to the house-top prone to stray,
And would'st to Alla-Tullah pray,
Had'st thou no high priest near thee ?
1 mean not that imperious sun
Of reckless Juggernaut ; but one
Well pleased to assist, and hear thee ?
But where did'st learn (for Heaven's sake)
To swim or dive, like duck or drake
When water-dogs pursue ?
And when for pure ablution quipp'd,
Lurk'd there (as when Godiva stripped)
No peeping Tom or wanton Makratoo ?
Plague on that meddling tell-tale Neale,
Eager thy history to reveal,
And mar the pleasing fable :
Too sudden came the denouement
Which proved thou art from down-along,
Where dumplings grace each table.
" Drat her pug-nose, and treacherous eyes,
Deceitful wretch ; " the doctor cries,
(No more inclined to flattery)
" When next I meet her (spite of groans)
I'll rive her muscles, split her bones
With my galvanic battery."
peculiar auto (Ecmttric 2D*ti0man& 147
But heed him not for on my soul
Whether at Bristol, Bath or Knole,
I admired thy Caraboo.
Such self-possession at command,
The by-play great the illusion grand :
In truth 'twas everything but true.
Then Molly take a friend's advice
(To make thy fortune in a trice),
All wand'ring gypsy tricks resign
Fly to thy proper forte the stage :
Where thou in this half mimic age
Princess of actors would'st unrivall'd shine.
From the Bristol Mirror, June 2ist, 1817.
THE following squib was circulated after the ex-
posure of this arch-impostor's deceptions, throughout
Devon and Somerset.
OH ! young Caraboo is come out of the west,
In Frenchified tatters the damsel is dressed
And, save one pair of worsted, she stockings had none,
She tramped half unshod, and she walked all alone :
But how to bamboozle the doxy well knew ;
You ne'er heard of gipsy like young Caraboo.
She staid not for river, she stopt not for stone,
She swam in the Avon where ford there was none :
But when she alighted at W gate,
The dame and the doctor received her in state.
No longer a gipsy, the club of bas-bleu
To a princess converted the young Caraboo.
148 j^ummto anti Crummit#.
So boldly she entered the W hall,
Amongst linguists, skull-feelers, bluestockings and all.
Sure never a hall such a galliard did grace,
When she fenced with the doctor, so queer her grim-
But her host seemed to fret though the doctor did
Should any to question her titles presume.
And 'twas currently whispered the best they could do,
Was to send up to London the young Caraboo.
The hint was enough ; as it dropt on her ear
It ruined her hopes ; it awakened her fear.
So swift to the quay the fair damsel she ran ;
" Oh ! take me, dear captain, away if you can."
She's aboard they are off; " Farewell, Dr. Rampoo,
They'll have swift ships that follow," quoth young
There was bustling 'mong dames of the W
The blue-stocking junto they rode and they ran,
There was racing and chasing from Bath to the sea,
But the bright Queen of Javasoo ne'er could they see,
What a hoax on the doctor and club of bas-bleu,
Did you e'er hear of gipsy like young Caraboo ?
Then spake the sage doctor, profoundly absurd,
While the sly Caraboo answered never a word :
" Art thou sprung from the moon, or from far Javasoo,
Or a mermaid just landed, thou bright Caraboo ? "
at anli (Eccentric aD*fconian0. 149
To these questions sagacious she answer denied,
Though hard was her struggle the laughter to hide,
But since they decree me these titles so fine
I'll be silent, eat curry, and taste not their wine ;
With this imposition I've nothing to do,
These are fools ready made, said the young Caraboo.
She looked at a pigeon the dame caught it up ;
Caraboo had a mind on a pigeon to sup ;
She looked down to titter she looked up so sly
With the bird in her hand, and the spit in her eye :
She dressed it she ate it she called it Rampoo.
This proves, swore the doctor, she's Queen Caraboo.
H. C. S.
Notes and Queries, June 3rd, 1865.
The King of the Gipsies.
BAMPFYLDE-MOORE CAREW was the son of the Rev.
Theodore Carew, rector of Bickleigh, Tiverton,
Devon. Born, July i2th, 1690. At the age of
twelve he was entered as a pupil at Old Blundell's
School, Tiverton, where he formed the acquaintance
of the sons of the best families in the county. At
first he gave close application to study, and bid fair to
make his mark in the world. His father had every
reason to hope that at some future time he would
succeed to the family living of St. Mary, Bickleigh.
Blundell's scholars at this period possessed a fine
iso ^ummte anti Crummitg,
pack of fox-hounds, and Carew took frequent oppor-
tunities to indulge in sport at the expense of his
studies. Besides strength of body and vigour of
mind he possessed agility of limb, and a voice of such
depth of sound that he could give the loudest halloo
to the hounds of any man of his day. Dogs were
attracted to him in a marvellous fashion, and in after
years this mutual sympathy proved disastrous to our
hero, who on this account suffered imprisonment
It happened one day that a farmer coming to
Tiverton market saw Carew standing at the school
gateway, and knowing the latter's fondness for sport,
acquainted him with the fact that a deer, with a collar
around his neck, was harbouring in a field on Exeter
Hill ; whereupon Carew, Martin, Escott, Coleman,
and a crowd of other Blundellians started to hunt it.
This happened just before corn-harvest. The chase
was hot and lasted several hours ; they ran the deer
many miles across fields of ripening grain, doing great
damage. The deer proved to be a tame one, the pro-
perty of Col. Nutcombe, of Clayhanger. Persons
who sustained damage to their corn, complained to
the headmaster of the havoc made. The culprits
were so severely threatened that several absconded,
Carew being one of the number. They made for
a small wayside inn at Brickhouse, on the Bampton
road, situated about a half-a-mile from the town. Here
they fell in with a party of gipsies and remained in
anti (Eccmttic 2Defconian0. 151
their company the whole night, engaging in the
wildest orgies. In the morning they were admitted
as Romany members, each taking the necessary oaths
and going through the requisite ceremonies.
It may be interesting to the reader to know that a re-
cruit goes through various rites and takes certain oaths
before being admitted a member of the fraternity.
A new name must be assumed, after which he takes
the following oaths
I, Bampfylde-Moore-Carew (or as the case may be),
do swear to be a true brother; to obey the commands
of the tawny prince ; to keep his counsel ; not to
divulge the secrets of the brotherhood ; will never
leave the company ; and observe and keep all times
of appointment by night or by day, in every place
I will not teach anyone to cant, nor will I disclose
our mysteries to them.
I will take my prince's part against all that shall
oppose him or any of us.
I will not suffer him, or any of us, to be abused by
strangers, but will defend him or them to the death.
I will not conceal aught I win out of private houses
or elsewhere, but will give it for the benefit and use
of all the company, &c.
Carew was an actor of the highest type, as is
evidenced by the numberless opportunities he em-
braced to personate the leading men of the neigh-
bourhood in which he found himself. By assuming
152 jummit# anli Crummitg.
the garb of a. peasant, a beggar, an old woman, a
soldier in distress, a maimed sailor, or whatever guise
his fertile fancy dictated, he successfully deceived
even his nearest relatives and wrung from them
entertainment, gifts of money, clothes and any com-
modity he demanded.
On the death of Claude Patch, the king of the
gipsies, Carew was, by a large majority of the brother-
hood, elected his successor. He at once took up the
government, but ran his kingly power on totally
different lines from the former sovereign. Instead of
living in idleness and luxury, depending on the mem-
bers of the tribe for support, he started off on a round
The knavish tricks and deceptions he successfully
practised on his nearest relations and most intimate
friends would be too numerous to chronicle in these
pages. A Life of Bampfylde-Moore Carew, can, I
think, be obtained at any bookseller's, and to lovers of
humorous incidents would prove amusing.
Carew married about the year 1720, a Miss Gray,
daughter of an apothecary, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, at
They had one daughter who married a West-
country squire, by whom she had a numerous family
of promising children.
After a life of beggary, adventure, and imprisonment,
Carew returned to his birthplace at Bickleigh, where
he resided two years previous to his death in 1758.
peculiar anfc (Eccentric 2D*ti0man0. 153
JOANNA, daughter of William and Hannah Southcott,
was born on April loth, 1750, at Gittisham, Devon-
shire. Her father, a farm labourer, honest and hard-
working, could give Joanna no better education than
was to be had at the village dame's school : here she
read the Bible with much attention and committed to
memory as much as possible. In after life, during
her " preaching days," she was thus enabled to apply
texts of scripture to prove the truth of her doctrines.
Few persons have excited so much curiosity, or
obtained more notoriety than Joanna Southcott. She
aspired to be the mother of a second Messiah, going
so far as to predict the date on which he should be born.
She affirmed that the " angels rejoiced at her birth,"
in consequence of which it was her duty to turn her
mind to religious subjects and to preach redemption
to every soul. In 1790, she was employed as a work-
woman in the shop of an upholsterer in Exeter. The
master being a Methodist, many persons of that per-
suasion visited him : with these people Joanna easily
ingratiated herself, and was by them held in great
esteem. Under such conditions she began to ex-
pound her religious views and would enter into con-
troversy with ministers, who were amongst the guests
of her employer, taking upon herself the role of reli-
gious dictator. By declaring that she had visions of
an extraordinary character she added to her import-
ance, as she was supposed to be inspired beyond a
common degree of human nature.
J 54 ^ummto anli Crummitg.
Considering herself " called of God," she deter-
mined to take up the ministry as her future vocation.
In 1792, she began her declarations, that, " the Lord
had visited her and entered into a sacred covenant,
the conditions of which He would reveal to her alone
in a vision."
To such a depraved state had she arrived, that she
blasphemously declared that God appeared to her,
not in " the beauty of Holiness," not in " the Majesty
of His Power," not in " the Greatness of His Mercy,"
but sometimes in the shape of a cat ; and once as a
" cup," which she kicked to pieces.
After these mad assertions she called together a
meeting of her followers, that these wonderful delu-
sions might be discussed and explained. The whole
assembly witnessed the following document :
I, Joanna Southcott, am clearly convinced that my
calling is of God, and my writings are indited by his
spirit ; it is impossible for any spirit but an all-wise
God that is wonderous in working, wonderous in wis-
dom, wonderous in power, wonderous in truth, could
have brought round such mysteries so full of truth,
as is in my writings : so I am clear in whom I have
believed, that all my writings come from the spirit of
the most High God.
Signed in the presence of fifty-eight persons
(including Methodist preachers) who assen-
ted to the truth of the statement.
anti (Eccentric SDebomang. 155
Joanna, in 1792, assumed the titles of "The Bride;"
" The Lamb's Wife ; " " The Woman clothed with the
Sun ; " and intimated that in process of time she
would become the mother of Shiloh, the second
Messiah ! !
From this time innumerable converts attached
themselves to her, each of whom contributed to the
ways and means, making Joanna's finances ample for
a luxurious mode of life.
One day, while sweeping out her employer's shop
in Exeter, she found a seal with J. S. engraved upon
it ; this she annexed, and hundreds of its impressions
in wax were sold and worn as charms by her devotees.
These " beatitudes" were purchasable at from twelve
shillings to a guinea each.
The Joanna Southcottians swore never to shave
until Shiloh came, and in consequence their beards
grew to an enormous length. They were known as
" The Bearded Men," and were a terror to children.
Mrs. Sabatier of Exeter, was so shocked at Joanna's
strange errors and blasphemies that she addressed a
letter to her, in the hope of leading her to see the
folly and wickedness of her teaching. She requested
replies to the following questions.
i st. Does the voice reveal things, or enforce doc-
trines such as could not possibly have been dis-
covered without the aid of this new revelation ?
2nd. Are all these things utterly free from error
or contradiction ?
156 jummit# auto Crummto.
3rd. Are they of general importance and evident
4th. Have any events followed these predictions
that lay beyond the reach of human forecast ?
To these queries Joanna sent an incoherent reply :
her letter will give a fair idea of the mental capacity
of the writer, as well as a pretty accurate idea of the
woman's religious teaching.
EXETER, June zoth, 1799.
I shall answer your faithful letter with That
Sincerity it deserves. I am a Constant member of
the Church of England, but the Cruel usage I have
met with from the Arch Deacon Moor, and some
other Ministers made me not frequent St. Peter's. 1
have written to them Several letters, of the Greatest
Blasphemy, that ever was wrote, if it was not, of God,
for which they never reproved me neither would they
here Me, to Know on what Grounds I had for my
faith or fears. Now to your enquiries. The wind
bloweth were it listeth, ye here the Sound thereof,
but cannot tell from wence it cometh, or wither it
goeth. So is every one born of the Spirit. Your
first enquiry I answer possitively, it is impossible
for Man by learning to find out what has been
revealed to Me by the Spirit of inspiration con-
cerning the Mistrys of the Bible. Your Second en-
quiry I answer. It is all to one purpose, what God
designed at first, it is explained to Me, he will accom-
peculiar anti (Eccentric jDrtoman*. 157
plish at last. Now cometh the fullfillment of the
Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews, by the fullfill-
ment of the Revelations, will the Jews be called
Chaptr 12, 19, and the last. Thirdly, they are of
general importance to all Mankind, they for the Con-
decension of the Lord to explain why he has done all
things is explained to Me. Fourthly, I answer to the
events that has followed. In 1792 I was fore told
what was coming upon the whole earth, perfect As I
then wrote, it has followed in this Nation and others,
and they, for the End is not yet. Another thing. I
am told what is in the Hearts and thoughts of Men
Concerning Me. And how Ministers would act be-
fore I send them a letter. In 1792 I wrote of the
Dearth of Provisions, the Distresses, of the Nations,
and the War with France and Spain, it is too tedious
mention all the particulars. I put in the hand of the
Revd. Mr. Pumroy, in the begininng of 1797, what
would happen in Italy, and perfect as it has happened,
in England ever since. I may say no great event has
happened, but what I am told of it before, and what is
to happen before Christ peaceable Kingdom is estab-
lished. I am at a Losst to account for the words saying
others write for me. Do you mean I cannot write at
All ? All my writings are in my own hand, but when I
send to Ministers, I have some one to copy them out
for Me, as I cannot Write a fair hand for others to
read. I believe I have answered most of your en-
quiry s as far as a Letter will permit, if you think
158 $lummit# auto Ctummto.
proper to make known yourself, I am willing to lay
every truth before you, and how these things came to
me at first.
I am yonr sincere Friend,
P.S. Please direct at Mr. Taylor's Cabinet Maker
As late as 1860 a few of her disciples were living at
Exmouth, Sidmouth, Sidbury, Sidford, and Exeter,
each expecting Joanna's return to life and the fulfil-
ment of her expectations.
On Monday, December 2oth, 1814, Joanna died in
London. A post mortem examination proved that a
tumour was the cause of death. A prophecy of hers
published in 1792, declared that the mother of Shiloh,
previous to his birth, would be as one dead for four
days, and at the end of that period would revive and
the babe would be born.
In the Yorkshire Weekly Post, for November igth,
1898, I read the following paragraph, which seems to
me to be an interesting link with the past.
" An elderly man who calls himself ' Judge Milton,'
and ' The Promised Shiloh,' has again made his ap-
pearance in the Wakefield district. The old man
contends that he is entitled to house property near
East Ardsley, built by the late Prophet, John Wroe,
a leader of the followers of Joanna Southcott."
Perhaps the following may be interesting, as shew-
ing specimen of the Hymns used at Joanna's Meetings.
iar auto (Eccentric 2D*bonian& 159
I have said already, thou shalt have a son,
Ere he can speak, all this shall sure be done,
Great peace in England after this shall be
Because the remnant shall believe in me, &c.
The woman clothed with sun,
Should make all nations quake,
For now the mystery I'll explain,
The Revelation break.
It is the Son that shall be born,
Fatal to those that do him scorn ;
Because that I'll uphold his land,
That doth depise the Infant's birth.
Collected from Notes and Gleanings, Exeter,
1892, and Memoirs of Religious Impostors,
by Dr. M. Ackin, LL.D., London, 1821,
and other sources.
THE NORTH DEVON SAVAGES.
ALTHOUGH much has already been written about the
North Devon Savages, a short though painful narra-
tive of their habits and manners may not be uninter-
The Cheriton family, fifty years ago, resided in the
parish of Nymet Rowland, a hamlet sixteen miles
from Exeter, situated in the very centre of the most
picturesque part of our fair county.
The Doones mentioned by Mr. R. D. Blackmore,
in Lorna Doone, had no connection whatever with
160 ^ummit0 anli Crummta,
Devonshire, nor were the Gubbings, of whom Mr.
Baring-Gould writes, in any way connected with the
Cheritons, who owned a small freehold farm, valued
at about ^"1500, which had been their inheritance for
a great many years.
In the early days of their possession they were re-
spectable, hardworking yeomen, living on and culti-
vating their estate to advantage. Then a son married
badly, and the children of this union grew up idle
and dissolute, consequently the farm was neglected
and in a short time it fell into a low state of cultiva-
tion. Each successive generation sank lower in the
social scale till a condition insensible to shame was
The family lived in a most disreputable way.
Their language was, as Tickler in his Devonshire
Sketches, says, " too horribly foul for repetition : they
poured forth copious streams of the dirtiest and most
obscene words conceivable."
A correspondent, who when a young man lived in
the neighbourhood, tells me that no one could beat
them at rough language, horseplay, and filthy dis-
course. They were a disgrace to the neighbourhood
and a nuisance to their neighbours. One day, when
passing the house, he was accosted by a woman of
the tribe, who called him disgusting names, pelted
him N with mud and stones, performed indescribable
offensive acts, and finally chased him brandishing a
hay fork, with which she would have undoubtedly
peculiar anti (Eccentric 2Deti0man& 161
assaulted him had he not beaten a hasty retreat.
The fame of these people spread through and be-
yond the county. Many inquisitive persons went to
Nymet Rowland to get a peep at the " Savages."
One man, more curious than the general public, ap-
proached too near the house, and was at once pounced
upon by a couple of Amazons, who demanded a
reason for his visit. " Ladies," said he " I have lost
my way, will you be so good as to put me on the
right road to Dartmoor ? " " Aw, ess, tii be sure,
replied Miss Cheriton, " come thease yer way an' I'll
She took him into the adjoining yard for the osten-
sible purpose of directing him, and the unsuspecting
wayfarer, venturing too near the edge of the horse
pond in following his guide, was suddenly thrust into
the filthy liquid, as a " There, thicky's the way tii
Dartymoor and be tii you," fell on his ears.
The farmhouse and outbuildings were originally
trim and well kept, but had been gradually allowed
to reach the last stage of dilapidation. The thatch
was stripped from the rafters, and the rooms below
received all the rain which fell, the wind played havoc
with, and carried away every scrap it could dislodge.
The windows had long been denuded of glass, and in
winter were stuffed with bundles of hay or straw to
protect the inmates from the severity of the weather ;
the air had free passage from basement to roof. A
person standing in what was at one time the kitchen,
162 /Elummto anti Ctummitg.
could see the clouds passing and the birds flying
above the roof. The doors were nowhere. The
living room was almost destitute of furniture, and in
place of seats a hole had been dug in the lime-ash-
floor in front of the fireplace, which was on the
hearth. Into this hole the legs of the members of the
family rested as they sat on the bare floor around the
In this hovel resided as many Cheritons, men,
women, and children, as could find resting-places; the
surplus members of the family found shelter and
repose in holes cut into hayricks and woodstacks.
The patriarch of the tribe, Christopher Cheriton,
slept at night, and reclined during the greater part of
the day in solitary state, within the friendly shelter of
a cider cask well bedded up with hay and dried ferns.
A more primitive state of things could not possibly
be found anywhere.
Their land being freehold no one dared interfere
with the family so long as they kept upon their own
ground. Many strong efforts were made to clear
them out of their holding but without success, and
for many years these disgraceful conditions continued.
Over their social life one would wish to draw a
curtain, for they regarded not the holy rites prescribed
by the Church, nor the authority of bishops, arch-
deacons, or civil laws. They had all things in com-
mon, and multiplied into a large family without
marriage. Their conduct, habits, manners, and Ian-
peculiar an& (Eccentric 2D*fc0man0. 163
guage, made them a terror and a nuisance to their
immediate neighbours. Their misdeeds were the
cause of their making frequent appearances before
the magistrates in the local police courts. The sur-
rounding farmers, after a time forbore to summon
them as their ricks, stacks, barns, and homesteads
were fired. By whom ? None could tell, though
pretty shrewd guesses were levelled at the Cheritons.
Their larder was at all seasons well filled. Game
and every portable kind of dairy and farm produce
found a way to it, brought thither by the sons, who
were noted poachers and purloiners of other men's be-
They baked three kinds of bread, namely, black or
barley bread for the men servants, whole wheaten
meal bread for the family, and white bread for the
The only persons who dared venture to visit them
with impunity, were Lady Portsmouth and the Revd.
and Mrs. Gutteries. This was in 1870-3.
A former rector of this parish, a tall robust man,
standing six foot, two inches, in his stockings, when-
ever he passed the premises was assailed with
showers of stones and inexpressibly revolting abuse.
The property has long ago changed owners, and of
the fate of the Cheritons very little is known. The
old folks are dead, and the younger ones have emi-
grated or married, thus breaking up a family notor-
ious for evil in all its forms.
HERE are a few stories which have been told me by
old persons in various parts of the county. Some
are extracted from newspaper reports, and for per-
mission to use them I am indebted to the kindness of
the editors of the Tiverton Gazette, the Devon and
Exeter Gazette, the Western Morning News, the
North Devon Herald, and the Yorkshire Weekly Post.
The exucutors of the late Mr. Elias Tozer (better
known as " Tickler," author of Rambles on Dart-
moor) have allowed me to glean from his pages. To
very many generous private correspondents too, I am
under great obligations for the large amount of infor-
mation, and many singular narratives which they
have voluntarily sent me.
One or two trifling incidents are recorded from per-
I think in themselves they give one a clear insight
to the quaint characteristics, the modes of thought,
and bent of imagination of our rustic friends.
With few exceptions Devonians are free-spirited,
shrewd, genial, daring, laughter-loving and kindly.
168 ummtttf auto Crummit#.
They are ever ready to believe in the supernatural,
and repeat (sometimes, I fear, exaggerate) their own
An old man living in South Devon, once told me
that as he was one night returning from Starcross to
a farm about two miles off, as he passed Easton
Wood he had " zeed the devil hiszel azitting pon tap
o' a gaet-pawst. Th' eyes aw'n was like two gert
glazing tay sassers, and I urned fit to break my neck
till I got purty vur from he," he said.
A day or two after this, I met the old man's son of
whom I enquired for his father.
" Aw' mum," said he, " 'e idden vitty 'et, a'n't agot
awver th' fright he got tuther night. He zeth 'e
zeed th' evil wan, up in Easton Wood, wi eyes
blazing like a bull's-eye- lantern. He hissed and tissed
to 'n. There was hundreds of little devils dancing all
about in th' blue hell-flames. Poor old father was
that scared that 'e cant tell a 'awk from a 'andsaw
(heronshaw). Poor old father, 'e es in a brave fizz
" Yes," I replied, " don't you think if you could
persuade him to pass by ' The Ship,' at Cockwood,
instead of going in, he would see less of the old one ? "
" Ess 'm, mayhap 'e widden zee th' dowl again if
he stapped gwaine there."
One sees by this, how very different the son's tale
was from the father's. The whole thing was wonder-
fully elaborated, and there is no doubt as it journeyed
through the taprooms of Cockwood, Starcross, and
Dawlish, it still farther grew in hideousness of detail.
The marvellous tales of supernatural visitations,
death omens, apparitions, charms for healing the sick
and the bewitched, with cursings and blessings, would
fill many volumes. I can only furnish a few examples
and hope they may prove interesting to the reader.
One dear old country woman, who was never tired
of telling me all the witch lore she could collect, one
day, said, " Ave I askeed ee missus by telling ee
thease yer discoose ? If zo be I've a gallied ee, I be
main put about, but whot I dii tell 'e is true. Ess
fy tez ! Ess by gor missus ! Ess fy !"
A BISHOP'S ADVENTURE.
DR. recently held a visitation at Torrington,
North Devon, and while his carriage was being har-
nessed for the return journey to Barnstaple, intimated
that he would walk on. The bishop took the old
hilly road, which is now but little used, and the
coachman, unaware of this fact, drove off, via Bick-
ford, quite in another direction. For five miles his
lordship trudged on, and becoming fatigued, and see-
ing no sign of carriage, on arriving at Newton Tracey
he asked a respectable publican and farmer there to
give him a lift. Boniface had a cart, but the cart
was unlicensed, and he pleaded this objection against
complying with Dr. 's wish. But the bishop
1 70 jpummto anli Crummttg.
was equal to the emergency ; he was desirous to pro-
ceed, and would pay the cost of a license. This
anxiety aroused the publican's suspicions, who re-
joined that if his visitor " would zit down and take a
drap ov zummut 'e wid go tii Barum and get a
lishens." But for this preliminary the bishop could
not wait and urged his host to harness his cart at
once, and take out a license on reaching Barnstaple.
More convinced than ever of the character and occu-
pation of the pedestrian, Boniface broke out, empha-
sizing his denunciations with strong expletives. " I
knaw thee. Thee art wan ov they supervisor fellers
that be alwes agwaine about the country, a-trying tii
trap poar men awver their lishenses and their carts."
The astonished prelate mildly endeavoured to assuage
the wrath of the irate publican, by the statement that
he was the Bishop of Exeter. " Tez a d lie and
nothing of the zort," retorted the other, " yii want tii
trick me, zames yii did my neighbour tother day.
Why, Bill Smith was armed five pound and yii
wan'th tii git me intii the zame box, but I'm burned
if yii dii." So the bishop had again to sally forth,
until he was picked up about four miles from his
destination by the carriage, which had meanwhile
been sent out in quest of him from Barnstaple. The
publican chuckled over his own cuteness in doing the
supervisor, and to a friend who called a few days
later, he narrated the incident with great glee. " I
knawed," said he, " who the chap was ! He was
a-dressed up like a zort of genelman varmer with a
pair of black gaiters and breeches, and a rummy zort
of a hat 'pon his head ; but he didden git awver me,
I cude zee by the twinkle of his eye he was wan of
they excise chaps and he wanted to zar me zames he
did Bill Smith. He, poor blid, was fined five pound
tuther day for just a-taking his missus who'd been bad
for just a little bit of a turn round a bit." Shortly
after, Boniface learnt the true state of the case, when
he said, " Bless my sawl, what a fiile I've abin, may-
hap if I'd diied what his lordship axed me, he mid
a-made me Dean of the Katheydral ! "
Slightly altered from report in the Tiverton Gazette.
SALLY THE GUZE.
BEFORE a West-country bench, Samuel Scrane was
charged with stealing fowls from Mr. Grose, geese
from Mr. Lambshead, ducks from Mr. Vellacott, and
pigeons from Mr. Cobbledick.
Prosecutors proved missing the poultry, and
Lambshead positively identified his grey goose.
The following amusing statements were made in
Lambshead : Yer 'onour I ciide swear tii my dear old
Magistrates' Clerk : How could you do that ?
Lambshead : Cuz if I cal'th she, her'll knaw my
voice and answer me back.
Magistrates' Clerk : By what name do you call her ?
Lambshead : Why, zir, her rayle name is Sarah, but
zometimes us cal'th 'er Sallie; her knaweth
uther wan of her names, and cometh when her's
called, like a dog wid.
Magistrates' Clerk : Did you call her ?
Lambshead : Cal 'er ? Ess, I did, and 'er knawed
me direckly. And 'er answered me back wi'a
zoart of a tissy. That's 'er language you must
knaw. Why 'er spoak so natteral as a curschin
wid that's zo var's 'er ciide.
Magistrates' Clerk : Tell us more about it, Mr.
Lambshead, exactly what you did and what
Sarah did. We find this most interesting.
Lambshead : W T ell, sir, I went to Scrane's 'ouze and
when I corned there Scrane's wife zed to me,
zed she, " Well, Lambshead, what's want yer ? "
"Well," zed I, "I wants my giize, Sallie."
" Well, than," zed she, " 'er bant yer. I ant a
zeed nort o' thee old giize Sally, and be damned
tii ee." " Well, zed I, yii mid be civil I zim,
and dawnt use noan o' yer cussing tii me, ver I'll
be d d if I'll stand cussing and thieving intii
the bargain. Zo, I jist made so bold as to walk
strite drii th' ouze intii backouze, and there, I
zeed amazing sight of poultry, and ruckied down
in the far cornder was my poor old Sally, liiking
so wisht as Simon Fluke's owl. The very minute
'er zeed me up er jumped and hissed and tissed
fit tii bust 'erzel with joy. So I zed, " Sallie,
Sallie, m' dear, be that yii ? Then 'er flied slap
acrass the 'eads of all the rest of the ducks and
vowls that was there, and corned and crawped
down by my veet like a dog wid. I cudden 'elp
crying, I cudden, so I tiiked her up in my arms
and was gwaine tii car 'er away with me when
Scrane's wife corned and hailed her away from
me and scat 'er vore intti the yard. Well, I
urned arter 'er and cald tii 'er : Sallie, Sallie,
Sallie, come yer my purty ! and 'er rinned and
flapped 'er wings tii me in a minute, 'er did, and
I walked strite away out tii the gate and old
Sallie arter me atissing and drawing abroad her
wings fit to bust 'erzel, I tellee !
Magistrates' Clerk : This seems far too ridiculous, for
belief. Did any one witness the mutual recog-
nition between you and the goose.
Lambshead : Whativer be telling about, sir ? You
spayketh so fine there's no understanding aw'ee,
but I spose you be axing, who 'twas zeed my
giize, Sallie, recognise me ? Why then, when I
went to Scrane's 'ouze, Billy Chubb and Nick
Stradles went with me and they both aw'm zeed
Sallie rin tii me.
Magistrates' Clerk : Did you, Chubb, see the goose
when she recognised Lambshead ?
Billy Chub : Ess, by Gor, I did, and twas a sight for
sore eyes, I kin tellee, for when thickee old gen-
174 ^flummto anti Crummit#.
nelman went vore and caled she, 'er urned tii 'n
a hissing and a tissing as if twas 'er father.
When us liiked into the back-ouze nobody
ciide tell wan giize from 'tother, but the very in-
stant 'er master spoke, 'er up and urned tu'h and
rubbed 'er 'ead agin his legs so loving as a cheel.
Mr. Lambshead mutched 'er down awver 'er
head and neck and 'er was so plaized as punch,
Lambshead : There now, zir, didden I tellee so ? 'tez
so true as the Gospel, tez ; I've ah'ad she for
purty nigh ten year and I widden take ten pound
for 'er. Why, my old 'oman lov'th 'er so well's
'er dii inny of our chillern. I mayns tii take 'er
'ome wi' me and keep 'er so long's 'er liv'th, ess
fy ! Er'll sit in the chimbly cornder warm and
Magistrates' Clerk : I wish to see this goose.
Lambshead : I'll fetch 'er vore, sir.
Hereupon the goose was produced and placed in a
far corner of the Court. When Lambshead called
Sallie, Sallie, she rushed towards him clearing every
impediment. Whereupon Scrane was convicted of
the theft, and Lambshead left the Court with Sallie
comfortably tucked under his arm.
Somewhat modified from report in Western Morning
fetor iz&. 175
ECCENTRIC NORTH DEVON PARSON.
PASSEN F. B. was asked to officiate at R. A., seven
miles east of Southmolton, for the Rev. J. S., in the
days when " all kinds of music " made up a village
choir. The psalm was given out, and the musicians
began to tune their instruments. Unfortunately, the
fiddles and the bass-viol would not be obliging, and
some time elapsed before they were in accord. Im-
patient at the delay, the passen leant over the reading
desk and throwing his arms wildly over his head,
shouted at the very top of his voice, " Hark-away,
Jack ! hark-away, Jack ! Tally-ho ! Tally-ho ! "
WANTED A PUP.
A COUNTRY vicar, once went to fill the pulpit of a col-
league who was temporarily absent from his parish.
After the service he thought he would gauge the
effect of his discourse by the opinion of that very fair
index of public feeling, the clerk. " Well, Rogers,"
he said, " did you like my sermon ? " "I did, sir,"
was the reply. " I hope it was not too long ? " he
anxiously enquired. " No yu wadden tii long awver
'n," rejoined Rogers. " Well, then," said the vicar,
" I hope I was not too short." " No," answered
Rogers, " ner'et tii short nuther, yii was jist about
right." The vicar felt relieved, and said, " I am glad
of that because, to tell you the truth, while I was
writing that sermon my dog got hold of four folios
176 jl^ummto anti Crummit*.
and destroyed them, and I was afraid it would be too
short." Rogers scratched his head and for a moment
was very thoughtful, and then said, confidentially,
" Lor ! now, zir, did 'er ate um all up ? I warndee yii
widden mind letting our passen 'ome yer, have a pup
of your dug widdee now ? for he dii mappery a darned
sight tii long tii plaise us, most times."
THE ANGRY CHOIR-LEADER.
THE following is interesting though perhaps a little
startling. Just sixty years ago, string instruments did
duty in the village choirs before the introduction of
harmoniums and American organs. The leader of
the particular choir, of which I write, was an old man
of iron will. He kept the village inn, and in his
sanded public parlour, the four or five fiddlers met
once a week to practice the psalms and hymns for
the next Sunday's service. He played the bass-viol,
and was master of the choir. The group of fiddlers
with their quaint everyday working costumes in that
old room, lighted by two or three tallow dips in up-
right iron-candlesticks, would have made a capital
model for an old Dutch panel picture. On Sunday
they occupied with the choirmen and children the
gallery at the west end of the church, and from this
position the master of the choir gave out the psalm
or hymn which was to follow. The clerk had noth-
ing at all to do with that part of the service.
One Sunday morning the clerk was suddenly taken
ill, and a substitute had to be hastily found. He
came from C., some four miles off, and arrived only
after the church was filled and the service had
actually begun. He could, of course, know nothing
of the psalms or hymns appointed for the day, but
thinking it would be perfectly safe, he burst forth
with " Let us sing to the praise and glory of God
the old hundredth Psalm ; * All people that on earth
do dwell ' " The old leader in the gallery was
fairly taken aback at the strange intrusion and sub-
stitution of another psalm for the one which he and
his men had prepared. Stuttering with annoyance, he
jumped up and shouted out, " D n" ahem " All
people that on earth do dwell ! My soul shall magnify
the Lord, 85th Psalm," and before the parson and
congregation could recover from their astonishment,
the bows of the fiddles swept across the strings, the
voices followed, and all were on the right road.
THE PARSON AND CLERK ROCKS,
ON the south-east coast of Devon, about twelve
miles from Exeter, lies the picturesque town of Daw-
lish. It possesses a long stretch of sandy beach,
which encloses a small bay of the English Channel.
At the southern extremity may be seen two rocks,
lying a short distance from the mainland, known as
178 /pummttg anto Crummtt^
the Parson and Clerk. The story of these rocks, as
told by the gossips of Dawlish is as follows :
A certain bishop of Exeter fell sick, and thinking
that the pure air of this charming village would
restore his lost energy took up for a time his resi-
An ambitious priest, whose aim was to succeed to
the See in the event of his superior's demise, fre-
quently rode to Dawlish accompanied by his clerk to
make enquiries after the condition of the dying bishop.
The clerk was usually the priest's guide; but one
night, in a tremendous storm, while crossing Haldon
they lost their way, and worn out with the long
journey found themselves miles out of the beaten
track, The priest boiled over with rage. He abused
the clerk, and exclaimed " I would rather have the
Devil himself, than you, for a guide." At this
moment a horseman rode by and volunteered to
pioneer them to Dawlish. They thanked him and
jogged comfortably along at his side, unmindful of
time, distance, or invalid. The storm still raged and
the long ride had sharpened their appetites, therefore,
as they approached a brilliantly-lighted mansion, they
gladly accepted the stranger's invitation to partake
of his hospitality. They enjoyed a sumptuous repast,
and indulged freely in the good wine provided so
lavishly by their host.
In the midst of their merriment news was brought
that the bishop was dead. The priest was eager to
be off to secure the first chance of promotion, now
that the bishop was out of the way. So master and
man mounted their steeds and made ready to depart.
But the horses were not anxious to go. They were
whipped and spurred but all in vain. "Devil take
the brutes," exclaimed the priest in his rage.
" Thank you, sir," said their host, " Gee up." The
horses did "gee up ! " with a vengeance, and galloped
madly for the cliffs : then over they went, that of the
clerk first, then followed the parson and his steed
plump on their backs and there they are to this
day looking see-ward (sea), monuments of disap-
ROMANTIC INCIDENT IN A WEST-
THE workhouse at Taunton has been the scene of a
romantic incident. On October I3th, 188 , a middle-
aged man belonging to a neighbouring parish, arrived
at the workhouse, his object being to find a house-
keeper. Seeing the master, he said he had just lost
his wife, and was in an awkward fix, as he had a
situation and a cottage, but no one to cook his "grub."
At the time of the conversation an inmate of the
house, a widow, who had been allowed to store her
furniture in an outhouse at the Union, was scrubbing
the dining-hall floor, and to her the master put the
question : " Would she like to interview the man
i8o ^ummto auto Crummto.
with the view of becoming his housekeeper ? " An
affirmative answer was readily given, and the couple
were left alone to settle the terms of the engagement.
At the end of a half-an-hour, they requested the
attendance of the master, who found them addressing
each other familiarly as Willie and Annie. They
asked him to draw up an agreement, setting forth
that Willie would support Annie and her two children
in return for her services as housekeeper. To please
them the master complied, and Willie and Annie at
once attached their signatures. Then in the presence
of the woman, Willie, addressing the master, con-
fessed to having a liking for Annie, and after much
coy beating about the bush, he unbosomed himself,
thus: "Well, ef 'er's aminded I'll go down an' gie
notice to git married zo zoon's can be." With the
hesitation of etiquette the engaged housekeeper, who,
in a business-like fashion, had pocketed the agree-
ment, said she would like to have until Monday to
consider the proposal. After affectionately embracing
the lovers parted. On Saturday, the object of this
spontaneous passion, took to the master of the house
a letter which she had received from Willie, and
which was so affectionately worded that it might well
be termed a love-letter. On Monday, Annie having
consented, the couple and the two children drove off
in a wagon, which Willie had brought for the pur-
pose, the woman's furniture being taken away in the
same conveyance. Before leaving, they thanked the
master very warmly and intimated that they were
going to be married without delay.
From Tiverton Gazette.
WANTED A WIFE.
THAT the " tender passion" lingers in old age, and
flourishes amid uncongenial surroundings, may be
proved from the following letter of a veteran of
eighty, sent to a Devonshire Board of Guardians.
Mr. Mashell Governor, Master and Esq.
Sir, and Gentlemen of the Committe.
I, Abram Stiles have been your servant now 8 years,
and desire to thank you all for your kindness to me,
and now Gentlemen, I am going to say I have buried
my Wife 14 year, and have been a poor W T anderer
sence ; as I have not got a soul Living on earth that
I can speak to, but Gentlemen sence I have been to
the old Woman with my papper there is a female that
noticed me as soon as 1 went, and she said, " I be-
lieve that man is come to be my Husband." I never
spoke for sometime until I looked at her and said,
" Do you reelly thenk so ? " She said, " Yes, at Least,
I Hope so." I said, " Well if you will Consent to be
my Wife I will pleadge myself to make you a Happy
Husband if the Gentlemen will allow us to be mar-
ried." We shall be very happy I am sure as we
are Both their servants, and quite satisfied we are
1 82 ^ummto auto Crummitg.
able and willing to do anything that Comes in our
way, and we desire nothing in this world but to marry
and live Happy together. The female is 63 years of
age, and I am turned 80 years and Both well and
hearty able and willing to do anything that Comes
and now Gentlemen we pray you to grant this our
only Hope of our Blessed Comfort ; we also desire to
continue in our Sittuations, as we do not Desire any
change. We are perfectly satisfied with our positions
and desire to be thankfull. Gentlemen I will appear
before you on Friday next.
Your Humble Servants,
Abrain Stiles, 80 years old.
Amy Gloyns, 63 years old.
Despite this very pathetic appeal the Guardians
did not sanction the union of the happy pair.
Tiverton Gazette, Nov. 1893.
WAITING at a railway station, not far from Crediton,
on the London and South Western Railway, I over-
heard the following conversation between two country
men. Being much amused I laughed heartily, when
a strange woman sitting at my side on the form, re-
marked to the friend sitting next to her. " Ot ivver
aileth she ? poar blid I rakkon 'er's ago crackee ! "
Here is the dialogue :
Farmer Tom : Giide marnin' tii 'e maister Tapper,
be yii agvvaine arresting than ?
Farmer George : Ess I zim, I be agwaine tii dii zom-
mat tu 't, tweel clear up a bit I 'opes bimbye and
chell try tu car the wets tartarniine (this after-
Tom : Shudden winder ef tweedden clear up : liike's
off us 'ad 'ad 'nuf rayn latterly.
George Well, ess, thort us wuz in vur 'nuther vlid.
I jist rakkoned ol' Maister Noah wuz up tii zome
ov es anticks again, an' wuz agwaine tii gie us
'nuther vlid 'pon's awn count. Darned ef I
weedden shelten ef cude come crass 'n.
AN otter took refuge from the hounds under the
stump of an overhanging tree on the banks of the
Exe at Bickleigh, near Tiverton. The hounds, foiled
in their desire to catch the animal, set up a most
glorious baying, whereupon the Rev. J. B , a
noted son of Nimrod, exclaimed, " Tell about music
dii ee ? Tell about your oratorios ! Did ee ivver yer
a sweeter Hallelujah than that m'bwoys ? No tanoby.
All the arguns in the wordle wunt bayte that ! I'll
be burned if they will ! What say you, sir ? "
1 84 ^ummit# an& Crttmmit#,
IN the centre of the extensive forest of Exmoor, lies
the picturesque little village of Simonsbath, which is
reputed to be ten miles from everywhere. Here in
ancient times the limpid Barle, as now, flowed lazily
in summer towards its sister stream the Exe, which
it joins in the vicinity of Dulverton. Slowly wending
its way through the country of the Red Deer, it
forms many a deep pool, sheltered by clumps of
alder, while its banks are rich in king fern and
bracken. Simon, the king of the western country,
often came to disport himself, with his followers, in
the refreshing waters. One day, the sovereign ven-
tured too far from his attendants and being seized
with cramp sank, and was drowned before assistance
arrived. Hence the name of the hamlet Simons-
A few old Songs.
A few old Songs.
'Twuz down by the river I fust met my purty Jane,
Upon a zummer's eveling when the zin wuz on the
Her little veet they twinkled as her trip'd o'er mead-
And my heart 'e whisper'd zoftly,
" Bill, did'st ivver zee such zight ? "
Not nivver in my born days did I zee a maid zo fair,
Her made my heart go pity-pat and her riz on end
And I axed her vur to come back but her ciidden
then, her zed,
And on her sped like lightning, across the level mead.
I yerd the birds a-zinging, as I corned up dru the
And I thort they zed " Bill ! Bill ! thee shet have thy
Ah ! 'twuz music sweeter var, than I ivver yerd
It often gied me comfort digging peat pin tap the
1 88 ummte anti Crummta.
Wan Zummer Zinday morning when the bells wuz
I meet my love a-coming up old Chagford's pleasant
I tiiked courage there and then, and I up and told
And her zed, " Dear Bill, I'll have thee," and her
spoke jist like a dove.
But her nivver lived to do it vur her pined away and
Jist on the day, her zed her'd be my bonny little
Now often when I'm walking down in yonder mead-
I zee her right avore me, like an angel in the light.
And I yer her sweet voice zaying " Bill, Bill, be not
Thee shet zee in heavenly places thy loving little
Oh ! 'tez that which gives me peace as I walks in
in field and lane,
Vur if I live a true life, I shall zee my purty Jane.
Elias Tozer, Exeter.
THE TRUE LOVERS.
LORD Lovel he stood at his own castle gate,
Combing his milk-white steed,
When up came Lady Nancy Bell
To wish her lover good speed speed speed,
To wish her lover good speed.
frto oft &onfl#. 189
" Where are you going, Lord Lovel ? " she said,
" Oh, where are you going ? " said she,
" I'm going my Lady Nancy Bell,
Strange countries for to see see see,
Strange countries for to see."
" When will you come back, Lord Lovel ? " she
" When will you come back to me ? "
" In a year or two, or three at most,
I'll return to my Lady Nancy cy cy,
I'll return to my Lady Nancy ? "
But he hadden been gone but a year and a day
Strange countries for to see,
When languishing thoughts came into his head
Lady Nancy Bell to see see see,
Lady Nancy Bell to see.
So he rode, and he rode on his milk-white steed,
Till he came to Kenton town,
When he heard St. Andrew's Church bells ring,
And the people all mourning around round
And the people all mourning around.
" Oh, what is the matter ? " Lord Lovel, he said,
" Oh, what is the matter ? " said he,
" A Lord's Lady is dead," an old woman said,
" And some call her the Lady Nancy cy cy,
And some call her the Lady Nancy."
190 j^ummto anti Crummte,
So he ordered the grave to be opened wide,
And the shroud to be turned down,
And then he kissed her clay-cold lips,
Till the tears came trickling down down down,
Till the tears came trickling down.
Lady Nancy died as it might be to-day,
Lord Lovel he died as to-morrow,
Lady Nancy, she died out of pure, pure grief,
Lord Lovel, he died out of sorrow sorrow
Lord Lovel he died out of sorrow.
Lady Nancy was laid in the cold churchyard,
Lord Lovel was laid in the choir ;
And out of her bosom there grew a red rose,
And out of his a sweet brier rier rier,
And out of his a sweet brier.
They grew and they grew to the church steeple
And then they could grow no higher,
So there they entwined in a true-lovers-knot,
For all true lovers to admire mire mire,
For all true lovers to admire.
Sung by Mr. Ted Ward, at a harvest supper,
THE following appeared in an Exeter newspaper, in
May, 1844, and was attributed to the pen of Mr.
Henry Baird, a popular writer of poems in the
feto oft &ong#. 191
Devonshire Dialect, generally known as Nathan Hogg.
John and Moll Chawbacon's visit to Exeter, on the
occasion of the opening of the Great Western Rail-
way, May ist, 1844.
LOR Johnny ! lor Johnny ! now whatever is that ?
A-rinning along like a 'oss upon wheels,
Tez so bright as your buttons, and so black's your
And jist listen, Johnny, and hear how he squeals !
Dash my old buttons, Moll ! I'll be darned if I know,
Us was fools to come yer, and run into dhanger.
Let's be off, he spits fire, lor ! do let us go.
And he holds up his head like a giize to a stranger,
I be a bit frightened, but let us bide yer,
And hark how he puffs, he coughs, and he blows,
He idden unlike the old cart-oss last year,
Brokenwinded and yet only zee how he goes '
He rinn'th upon ladders, with they things like wheels,
Or hurdles, or palings put down on the ground.
But why do they let him stray out of the fields ?
'Tez a wonder they don't clap en into the pound,
He can't be alive, John ! I don't think he can ;
I bant sure of that Moll, for just look now,
He breathes like a 'oss, or a snivelled old man,
And hark how he's bust out a-coughing. Good now !
He never could draw all they waggons d'ye see
If he lived upon vatches, or turmets or hay ;
Why they waggons be filled up wi' people they be ;
And do 'e but look how they'm laughing away,
1 92 jl2ummtt# auto Crummit#.
And look to they chillern a rinning about
With their mouths full of gingerbread there by the
And see to the scores of fine ladies turned out
And gentlemen all in their best Sunday clothes,
And look to the house made of canvas so smart,
And the dinner sot out wi' such bustle and fuss.
But us brought a squab-pie wi' us in the cart,
And a firkin of cider, so that's nort to us.
I tellee what tez, Moll this yer is my mind,
The wordle's gone mazed so sure as you'm born,
Tez so true as Tm living and that they'll find,
With their hosses 'pon wheels, that don't live upon corn.
I widden go homewards by and by to the farm,
Behind such a creature, when all's said and done
We've travelled scores of miles, but we never got
For there's nort like a market cart under the sun.
YOUNG ROGER OF THE VALLEY.
YOUNG Roger of the valley,
One morning very soon,
Put on his best apparel,
His hose and Sunday shoon ;
And he a-wooing went,
To bonnie buxom Nell,
Says he, " My dear, can you fancy I ?
For I likes thee wondrous well,
For I likes thee wondrous well."
" Young man, you are quite mistaken,"
The damsel quick replied,
" I'm not in such a hurry,
To be a ploughman's bride,
For I do live in hopes
To marry a farmer's son."
" If this be so," said Roger, then,
" Sweet mistress I have done."
" Go take your farmer's son,
With all my honest heart,
Although my name be Roger,
Who ploughs, and drives a cart,
I need not tarry long,
I soon can get a wife,
There's buxom Joan 'tis very well known,
She loves me like her life."
" And what of buxom Joan,
Can't I please thee just as well ?
What ! though your name be Roger
And mine be bonnie Nell ?
For I have fifty shillings."
The money it made him smile ;
He drew his chair and said, " My dear,
I'll chat with you awhile."
" If you have fifty shillings,
Why need we longer stay ;
But only say you're willing,
And let's appoint the day.
i94 jummit# auto Crummittf,
For I have fifty more
The money a cow will buy,
We'll join our hands in wedlock's bands,
And who like Nell and I ? "
From the Western Morning News.
THE OLD MAN'S SONG.
Twuz zixty years and more, when fust I meet my
Among her father's apples that shined jist like her
Us courted fifteen year, aw ! twuz a happy time,
And then us was a-wedded, us both was in our
Us wuz married in a church upon a Zummer's day,
When all the birds wuz zinging and ivvery thing wuz
There wuz father there, and mawther, and likewise
Aunt Jane and cousin Phylie and Bob and Betty
A cruel lot ov youngsters, from all the country round,
Broft down all zorts of things our happy hearts to
And when the ring wuz on, and the clerk had zed
Who diiee think fust jumped vore ? Why, rough old
And he keesed Grace rayther zmaert, I didden much
But twadden quite zo proper in Young Varmer Wil-
yum Lee !
I keep'd me veelings down, which wuz rising purty
I zed, " dear Grace, I 'opes he'll be the last."
Her squeeged my arm and meaned tweed be,
I also diied the zame,
And then us went to dinner ; and arterwards
* * * * *
Us lived like turtle doves all dru many happy years.
And reared up thirteen chillern : ov cuse they broft
their kears ;
But then they've turned out well and all be giide to me.
As their mawther on her death-bed, charged um vur
Vor when the birds wuz zinging, as 'pon our wedding
Jist like a little babby, her calmly passed way,
And zometimes when I comes yer there breathes
about the place,
Such blessed memories ov her, I zim I zees her vace,
And clasps her hand, and yers her voice, a zaying
" Cheer up, dear Jeames, be not cast down,
Thee ziine shall come to me."
Elias Tozer, Exeter.
196 jpummit# ana Crummitg,
DADDY Fox walked out one moonshine night,
He prayed to the moon to give him some light
For he had a long way to travel that night,
Before he got home to his den O, den O,
Den O, den O.
For he had a long way to travel that night,
Before he got home to his den O.
As he passed by a farmer's yard,
The ducks and the geese they were all aveared,
" The best of your fat shall grease my beard,
Avore I get home to my den O, den O,
Den O, den O,
Avore I get home to my den O."
He seized the old grey goose by the neck,
And slung her all across his back,
The goose cried out with a tribly, tribly twack,
And the blood came trickly down O, down O.
Down O, down O,
And the blood came trickly down O.
Old Mrs. Flipper Flopper jumped out of bed,
And out of the window she popped her head,
Saying, " Jan, Jan, Jan.
The grey goose is gone,
And the fox hath gone home to his den O, den O,
Den O, den O,
The fox hath gone home to his den O."
Si frto olti fe>ong#. 197
Jan rinned away to a very high hill,
Blew up his horn both loud and shrill,
" Blow on," said the fox, " 'tis pretty music still,
But I am away to my den O, den O.
Den O, den O,
But I'm safe away to my den O."
Then he dropped the goose to ease his pain,
Hadn't put her down long when he took her up
For he heard the sound of the hounds O, hounds O,
He heard the sounds of the hounds O.
When he arrived unto his den,
Where he had little ones nine or ten,
The fox and his wife they were in great strife,
They tore up the grey goose without fork or knife,
And the little ones nuzzled the bones O, bones O.
Bones O, bones O,
The little ones nuzzled the bones O.
Sung at Tiverton, at a harvest supper, by John
THE WEST COUNTRY MAN.
THERE was an old man in the West Country ;
A blatch in his lease the attorney found,
Twas all for the felling of five ashen trees,
And building a house upon his own ground.
198 Summits? anti Crummto.
The old man, he would to London go,
To shew the King great part of his woe,
To shew the King great part of his grief,
And likewise to ax'n for some relief.
Now when the old man to London came,
The King he was to Windsor gone,
" Why if he had known that I was acoming,
He widden have gone so far from home."
When the old man unto Windsor came,
The gates were locked, and all secure,
" Why let's knock away with my oaken club,
There's room for me to get vore, to be sure."
" Yer sarvint, Maister Nobles! " shew me the king,
" Whot's this the King you sheweth to me ?
I zeed a chap to Barnstaple fair
Looked more like a king than thicky chap there."
" Yer sarvint, Mr. King ! " the old man said,
" A blatch in my lease the * torney ' hath found,
And it's all for felling of five ashen trees,
And building a 'ouze pin tap his own ground."
The King he took the lease all up,
And signed it with his hand so free.
" Why, if us ciide a-had it a-diied at home,
Us needn't a-comed to thee."
& ftto oft feonff*. 199
The old man took the lease all up,
And for to go home was also willing,
But to make the King some sort of amends,
He took out his purse and gave him a shilling,
The King he thanked the noble soul,
And paid him down ten pounds in gold,
And every year for the sake of the sport,
Ten pounds were paid from Windsor Court.
The old man took the lease all up,
And for to go home he now was quite willing,
" But if I'd a-knowed thee'd agot so much money,
The devil-a-bit wid I a-gied thee a shilling."
For this and the following song I am indebted to
the kindness of Mr. W. H. Whiteaway, of Sunny-
side, Exmouth, who is good enough to allow me to
insert them here. He says, " these songs I give to
you, from memory, as I can remember hearing them
sung over sixty years ago."
WHERE ARE YOU GOING, FAIR MAID ?
" WHERE are you gwaine fair maid, I pray ? "
And old man asked a maid, one day.
" Looking for poppies so bright and red,
Father," she said, " I'm hither led."
" Fie ! fie ! " did the old man cry,
" Poppies all know
In the field, and not in the grove, do grow."
200 $lummtt# auto
" Tell me," again the old man said,
" Why are you wandering here, fair maid ? "
" The nightingales' song so sweet and clear,
Father," said she, " I came to hear."
" Fie ! fie ! " was the old man's cry,
1 - Nightingales all people do say
Warble by night, and not in the day."
The sage looked grave, and the maid looked shy,
When Lubin jumped over a stile hard by,
The sage looked graver, and the maid more glum,
Lubin, he twiddled his finger and thumb,
" Fie ! fie ! " did the old man cry,
" Poppies like these, I own are rare,
And of such nightingale's songs beware ! "
THE OLD MAN WHO LIVED IN A WOOD.
THERE was an old man who lived in a wood,
As yu may plainly zee,
He zed he cude du more work in a day,
Than he's wive cude du in dree.
" If that be the case," the old 'ummon zed,
" If that be the case," zed she,
Then yu shall bide at home tu-day,
And I'll go and drave the plough.
But mind yii milk the cherry cow,
For fear that her shiide dry,
And mind yii tend the sucking pigs,
That lie in yonder sty.
& fcto oft feonge?. 201
And mind yii watch the speckitty hen,
For fear that her shiide stray,
.And mind yii wind the wisterd yarn
That I spinned yesterday."
The old 'ummon her tiiked the whip in her hand,
And went to drave the plough,
The old man, he tiiked the milking pail,
And went to milk the cow.
But Cherry, her kicked, and Cherry her flinged,
And Cherry her widden be quiet,
Her gied the old man a kick in the leg,
Which made he kick up a riot.
He went to watch the speckitty hen,
For fear that her shiide stray,
But he forgot to wind the yarn,
His wife spinned yesterday.
Then he swared by the zin, the miine and the stars,
And all that wuz in Heaven,
That his wife ciide do more work in a day,
Than he ciide do in zebben.
THERE are several versions of this song extant. A
very charming one was a favourite with the late Dr.
Stoneman, of Ilfracombe. Many persons remember
how he would " bring the house down " with applause
when he sang it in the Concert Room, but although
I have advertised and tried to obtain a copy from
202 j|2ummit# anli Crummte.
private sources, I have unfortunately failed to get
one. I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Law-
rence, editor of the North Devon Herald, Barnstaple,
for the following very amusing example :
OH, Devonshire's a noble county, full of lovely views,
And full of gallant gentlemen for you to pick and
choose, Miss !
But search the towns all round about there's nothing
can compare, Miss !
In measurement of merriment with Barnstaple Fair,
Then sing of Barum's merry town, and Barum's
merry Mayor, too,
I know no place in all the world, old Barum to com-
pare to !
There's nothing happens in the year but happens at
our fair, Sir !
'Tis then that everything abounds that's either new
or rare, Sir !
The Misses make their start in life its gaieties to
share, Sir !
And ladies look for beaux and balls to Barnstaple fair,
Then sing of Barum's merry town, and Barum's wor-
thy Mayor, too,
I know no place in all the world old Barum to com-
pare to !
oft &onfi#. 203
The little boys and girls at school their nicest clothes
prepare, Ma'am !
To walk the streets and buy sweetmeats and ginger-
bread so rare, Ma'am !
Their prime delights, to see the sights that ornament
our Square, Ma'am !
When Powell brings his spangled troop to Barnstaple
Fair, Ma'am !
Then sing of Barum's merry town, and our indulgent
I know no place in all the world old Barum to com-
pare to !
If milk be scarce though grass be plenty, don't com-
plain too soon, Dame !
For that will very often happen in the month of June,
Though cows run dry while grass runs high, you
never need despair, Dame !
The cows will calve and milk you'll have to Barn-
staple Fair, Dame !
Then sing of Barum's wealthy town and its produc-
tive fair, too,
And drink the Corporation, and the head of it the
Mayor, too !
If pigeons' wings are plucked, and peacocks' tails re-
fuse to grow, friend !
In Spring ; you may depend upon't in Autumn they
will shew, friend !
204 ^-lummto anti Crummte.
If feathers hang about your fowls in drooping style
and spare, friend !
Both cocks and hens will get their pens to Barnstaple
Fair, friend !
Then, friend, leave off your wig, and Barum's privi-
leges share, too,
Where everything grows once a year, wings, feathers,
tails, and hair, too !
If Winter wear and Summer dust call out for paint
and putty, Sir !
And Newport coals in open grates make paper-hang-
ings smutty, Sir !
And rusty shops and houses' fronts most sadly want
repair, Sir !
Both shops and houses will be smart to Barnstaple,
Fair, Sir !
And Barum is a handsome town, and everyday im-
proving, Sir !
Then drink to all who study its improvement to keep
moving, Sir !
King George the Third rode out to Staines the hounds
to lay the stag on,
But that was.no great things of sport, for mighty
kings to brag on,
The French, alas ! go a la chasse in von po shay and
But what's all that to Button Hill ? To Barnstaple
& feto olti 5>on0#. 205
For we will all a-hunting go, on horse, or mule, or
mare, Sir !
For everything is in the field to Barnstaple Fair,
To Button Hill, whose name to all the sporting world
sure known is,
Go bits of blood, and hunters, hacks, and little Ex-
moor ponies ;
When lords and ladies, doctors, passons, farmers,
To hunt the stag with hound and horn to Barnstaple
Then up and ride for Chillam Bridge, or on to Brat-
ton town, Sir,
To view the rouse, or watch the Yeo, to see the stag
come down, Sir !
There's nothing else in jollity and hospitable fare,
That ever can with Barnstaple in fair time compare,
And guests are very welcome hospitality to share,
For beer is brew'd, and beef is bought to Barnstaple
Fair, Sir !
Then sing of merry England, and roast beef, old
English fare, Sir !
A bumper to the town and trade of Barum and its
Mayor, Sir !
2o6 ummite anti Crummte.
Boiled beef, roast beef, squab pie, pear pie, and figgy
When eight or nine sit down to dine, they'll find
enough for twenty,
And after dinner for dessert, the choicest fruits you'll
share, Sir !
E'en walnuts come from Somerset to Barnstaple Fair,
Then sing of Barum's jolly town, and Barum's jolly
No town in England can be found old Barum to com-
pare to !
I will not sing of Bullock fair, and brutes whose
horrid trade is
To shut our window blinds, and block up all the
Nor of the North walk, rush and crush, where fools
at horses stare, Sir !
When Mister Murray brings his nags to Barnstaple
Fair, Sir !
But sing of Barum's jolly town and Barum's jolly
Mayor, too !
No town in England can be found, old Barum to
compare to !
The " Ball " one night, the " Play " the next, with
private parties numerous,
Prove Barnstaple people's endless efforts, Sir, to
ftto oft fe>ong#. 207
And endless, too, would be my song, if I should now
All the gaieties, and rarities of BARNSTAPLE
Then loudly sing " God save the King," and long
may Barum thrive O !
May we all live to see the " Fair," and then be all
alive O !
IN Totnes town where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
Made every youth cry " Well-a-way,"
Her name was Barbara Allen.
All in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swelling,
Young Johnny Gale on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barbara Allen.
He sent his groom unto her then,
To the town where she was dwelling,
" You must come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbara Allen.
For death is printed on his face,
And o'er his heart is stealing :
Then haste away to comfort him,
Oh ! lovely Barbara Allen ! "
Though death be printed on his face,
And o'er his heart is stealing,
Yet little better shall he be,
For bonny Barbara Allen.
208 ummitg anti Crummte.
So slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said, when up she came,
"Young man, I think you're dying."
He turned his face unto her straight,
With deadly sorrow sighing,
" Oh ! lovely maid, come pity me,
I'm on my death-bed lying."
" If on your death-bed you do lie,
What needs the fate you're telling :
I cannot keep you from your death.
Farewell ! " said Barbara Allen.
He turned his face unto the wall,
And deadly pangs he fell in,
" Adieu, adieu, adieu to all !
Adieu to Barbara Allen ! "
As she was walking o'er the fields,
She heard the bell a-knelling,
And every stroke did seem to say,
" Unworthy Barbara Allen."
She turned her body round about,
And 'spied the corpse a-coming,
" Lay down, lay down, the corpse," she said,
" That I may look upon him."
With scornful eye, she looked down,
Her cheeks with laughter swelling,
Whilst all his friends cried out " For shame,
Unworthy Barbara Allen ! "
feto oto fe>ong#. 209
When he was dead and in his grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow,
" Oh, mother ! mother ! make my bed,
For I shall die to-morrow.
" Hard-hearted creature him to slight,
Who loved me so dearly ;
Oh ! that I'd been more kind to him,
When he was alive and near me."
She, on her death-bed as she lay,
Begged to be buried by him,
And sore repented of the day,
That she did e'er deny him.
" Farewell," she said, " ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall,
Of cruel Barbara Allen."
Sung by John Snow, of Tiverton, at a supper
party, A.D. 1869.
RAISING THE ANCHOR.
WE'M out of the 'arbour, good-bye to the mud,
Heave ho ! shake out the sail,
The 'arbour's avull and the tide's aflood
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale.
There's Polly and Mary azide o' their ma,
Heave ho ! shake out the sail,
And Bess in her arms like a little white lamb,
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale.
There's two little forms at the end o' the pier,
Heave ho ! shake out the sail,
And a liike in all eyes is the way as we steer,
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale.
Oh, Jim has a bit of a ball in his throat,
Heave ho ! shake out the sail,
He is wiping his nauze wi' the sleeve of his coat,
Aw, whistle my lad for a favouring gale.
Oh, Jess is his lass, her's a piping her eye,
Heave ho ! shake out the sail,
And Jim he can't dii it, no not if he tried,
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale.
Heard at Plymouth, 1892.
The following, which appeared in a recent number
of the Western Morning News, is from the pen of the
late Dr. Puddicombe, of Moreton. The subject, Jan
Pook, was post boy at the Saracen's Head, Two
Bridges, Dartmoor. The poem gives a clear idea of
the habits of the convivial souls who inhabit and
divert themselves in that neighbourhood.
JAN Pook wuz a post-boy,
The vokes where he stapped
Zed a hardier 'osebird,
There nivver wuz drapped.
oft )ong;& 211
He ciide laugh, he cude zing,
He cude smoke, he cude tell,
And whativver he diied,
He alwes diied well.
He wuz loved by his guv'ner,
Of " The White Hart," in Moreton,
A merciful man,
Who trated his 'osses,
And customers, too,
And trated Jan Pook,
When he'd nort else to do.
Jan Pook druv a party
To Princetown one day,
On his empty post shay,
To the " Saracen's Head,"
He pulled up for a wet,
Refreshment 'es zel
And his osses to get.
Jan drinked wey some miners
Until, as he zed,
The liquor he drinked
Had got into his head.
When he started again,
To his home to return,
What arterwards happened,
You'll presently learn.
212 ^ttmmttg an& Crummta.
Es likker 'ad warmed en to that there degree,
That he vailed vast asleep, and his osses you zee,
Forgetting the whip, stapped and grazed 'pon the
But how long they bided there nobody knowed.
Jan dreamed 'bout some pixies
And other strange folk,
When the miners corned up,
All alive for a joke.
They unharnessed his osses,
And drove mun away,
Leaving Jan vast asleep
On the porch of the shay.
When the zun in the East wuz beginning to rise,
Jan Pook, half awake,
Vailed to rubbing his eyes.
" Who be I ? Where be I ? "
Zed Jan in a maze :
" Here's a drunken old zun-
Of-a-gun on a shays.
If I be Jan Pook,
I may zay to my cost
A pair of post osses
I've sartinly lost.
If I baint Jan Pook
'Tez a fortinite day,
For I'm burned if I aint
Been and found a post shay."
feto olti >0ng#. 213
Don't drink wey no miners,
Now mind what I zay,
Don't nivver pull up
To no Saracen's Head,
Spurn alcoholic drinks
Vur the rest of your days,
And you'll not lost no osses,
Nor vind a post shays.
THE DEAR LITTLE LETTER.
IT is only a dear little letter,
In my hand that I tenderly hold,
From one who is dearer far better
Than treasures of silver and gold.
Many days my heart has been sighing,
This mark of affection to see,
And now there's no use in denying,
I'm as happy, as happy can be.
It is only a dear little letter,
Its coming I've waited to see,
A dear little, sweet little letter,
A dear little letter for me.
It is only a dear little letter,
But its pages are filled with kind words
Tells of one who is dearer yea, better
Than the music and warblings of birds.
214 Jpummitg anli Crummittf.
Oh, they waken glad mem'ries to cheer me,
As I sail o'er the wide, open sea,
And the sweet thoughts of one bringeth
I am as happy, as happy can be.
It is only a dear little letter,
And it breathes of a heart that is true,
Its makes my lone heart feel the better,
As this world I am journeying through.
It tells of a heart's sweet devotion
That will cling now and ever to me,
My mind it is in a commotion,
I'm as happy, as happy can be.
CHILDREN'S SONG FOR ALL SOULS'
SOUL Day ! Soul !
The Roads are very dirty.
Our shoes are very thin,
Pray good missis and master,
Pop a penny in.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Or any good thing to make us merry,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,
If you haven't a pear, good money will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Them as made us all.
Soul Day ! Soul !
The cock sat up in a yew tree,
The hen came cackling by,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a fat pig in the sty.
Soul Day ! Soul !
THE KNIGHT KILLED THE SQUIRE.
THE knight he killed the squire,
The squire being dead,
And witnesses being by,
'Twas brought in Wilful Murder,
The knight was condemned to die.
He was condemned to die
According to the Law,
Though all had expectation,
That the judge a free pardon would show.
She was but a poor servant,
A poor servant maid,
" If I shall be admitted,
Admitted sir," she said,
"I'll come before the judge,
And there I'll end all strife.
For like a love-sick lady,
I'll go and beg his life."
216 jpummte an* Crummit*.
She borrowed rich attire,
Rich rings she had manifold,
Likewise she had around her neck
A costly chain of gold.
Now all things being ready,
She with her footpage came,
Just like some noble lady
Of honour, birth and fame.
When she came before the judge,
She on her knees did fall
For mercy, and for mercy,
For mercy she did call.
" Take mercy on a virgin,
And grant to me my love,
May the Heavens light you from above."
" Fair lady and fair lady,
Fair lady he must die "
And the lady wrunged her hands,
And bitterly did cry
" For the law must be fulfilled,
And blood for blood must pay."
" My life shall be his ransom,
To set my true love free."
* * # # * #
"How can you die to save him ?
Such love I never knew,
Pity but what you could have him,
So bid your tears adieu :
feto oto >ong. 217
This moment I will quit him,
All for the lady's sake."
She said " I am no lady,
These clothes are none o'mine,
These riches, rings and jewels
I quickly must resign,
They are my master's daughter's,
I borrowed them also.
To prevent thy awful ruin
And fatal overthrow."
" And to thy master's daughter,
Two hundred pound I'll give,
My best respects I'll pay to her,
The longest day I live.
To make you satisfaction,
I will make you my bride,
I have more cause to love you,
Than all the world beside.
I have more cause to love you,
Than anyone beside.
Thou hast saved my life,
And hast prolonged my days,
Through all the lands and nations,
To you I will sing praise."
Recited on January ist, 1898, by Fanny Litson, at
a tea party, given by R. H. Taylor, Esq., Lynton,
North Devon, to aged persons.
218 j|2ummit# auto Crummit^
THE DEVIL AND THE TAILOR.
'TWAS in King Henry's time,
And he was a good old king,
There were three rogues turned out of doors,
Because they would not sing.
The first he was a miller,
And the second he was a weaver,
And the third he was a little tailor,
Three thieving rogues together.
The miller, he stole corn,
The weaver, he stole yarn,
The little tailor he stole broadcloth,
To keep these three rogues warm.
The miller was drowned in his dam,
And the weaver was hanged in his yarn,
But the Devil flew away with the little tailor,
With the broadcloth under his arm.
THE STAR IN THE CANDLE.
THERE'S no star in the candle to-night,
Nor one little ray shewing clear,
Still to make our heavy hearts light,
By shewing a letter is near.
But although there's no star there to-night,
There is one eye that ever looks down,
Whose might can change darkness to night,
Who ne'er on afflictions will frown.
Si feto oin !5>0n0#. 219
A ROBIN TAPPING AT THE WINDOW
WHEN the snow was falling, falling,
On a bitter winter night,
I, and little Mary watched it,
Wrapping all the world in white,
Came a little Robin Redbreast,
Hungry, shivering, and in pain,
And we heard him gently tapping,
Tapping on the window pane.
Little Mary oped the window,
Bitter blew the wind and strong,
Warmed and fed the little stranger,
And he paid her with a song.
Robin learned to love my Mary,
Mary loved him back again,
Ev'ry day we heard him gently,
Tapping at the window pane.
Mary died and left me lonely,
And we laid her in the clay,
And the snow that falls upon her,
Mourning, weeps itself away.
Robin went and lay beside her,
Sang his last expiring strain.
When at night I dream of Mary,
Comes an echo on the pane :
Robin's gone to sing with Mary,
In my dreams I hear the strain,
And I wake and hear the echo.
Tapping on the window pane.
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